What is a real recovery run ?

ChatGPT Open AI:

A recovery run is a low-intensity workout that follows a high-intensity workout or a race. The purpose of a recovery run is to help your body recover by increasing blood flow to your muscles, flushing out metabolic waste products, and promoting healing and repair.
Recovery runs are typically shorter and slower than your usual training runs, and they should be done at a pace that feels comfortable and easy. The idea is to give your body a chance to recover without adding any additional stress.
Recovery runs can also help to improve your running form and technique, as you’ll be able to focus on your stride and posture without worrying about speed or distance. Additionally, they can help you maintain your fitness level during periods of reduced training intensity, such as during recovery from an injury or illness.

Actually the AI gave a freckin’ awesome answer ! The purpose of a recovery run is actually not just simply to recover, but to prepare you for the next workout. I have read a couple of underground articles from Canova style and Norwegian style athletes and there is very interesting idea mentioned. The length of recovery from a race or a workout is not measured in time, like hours, days or weeks, but in number of recovery runs completed. Of course for this to be true, the procedure of the recovery run should be clarified, then followed to the letter.

A recovery run should be at least an hour, but not more than 2 hours, warming up cooldown included. The effort should be very aerobic, but not too low either to not to compromise biomechanics. In the meantime, of course if the body is that destroyed, that the recovery run is not possible to complete due to muscle and joint pain, a low impact activity can totally replace the initial runs.
I often use Zone 2 as my guide to other effort levels. Depending on the fatigue, I like to dial in recovery efforts to Zone 2 – 5 to Zone 2 – 15. My MAF zone or Zone 2 is 130 to 140bpm. So 110 to 125 is good guide for my recovery runs.
What most people don’t really get, is the recovery aspect and the balance what is totally max out shifted to the recovery. We don’t look for aerobic, anaerobic, metabolic adaptations. Even if a Zone 2 interval workout would be possible, it is not the point. Even if we could dial in some 60m accelerations, it is not the point. Adding to your fat burning capability ? It is not the point !

I do not go out and don’t recommend to go out on a recovery run for instance first thing in the morning. I prefer to drink plenty of water with minerals and get down a quickly absorbed amino acid solution. I have my own mixture, try your own. I don’t mind investing time to prepare.

I wake up, drink 5dl of water with quinton. Get in a quality coffee or tea. Read a bit. Then drink a revitalizing morning-aid:
EAA, Creatine, Glutamine, L-Carnitine, Citrulline Malate, Beta Alanine, Taurin and HMB. As sugar added in to replenish and top up the glycogen store is essential. It can be glucose, maltodextrin, fructose, cyclic-dextrin, waxy maze, U-Can, Maurten or an organic tapioca starch based complete recovery formula and so on. I use Vitargo.

Actually, the movement, the muscular contractions, the blood circulation, the higher than resting heart rate are all contributing to get these micro nutrients absorbed and cycled into the cells to trigger recovery and building.
If the run was longer than 1h, warming up and cooldown included, I most likely bring a sugar and electrolyte solution, like a running bottle with 6dl of fluid, with 30g of Vitargo and half of an effervescent electrolyte tab.

While in the initial period of recovery, cycling is a great idea, if you were a runner and your goal is running, cycling can never replace running. If one athlete was running constantly 160km a week and the other is doing only 100km with the resting hours done by cycling, the difference in running performance will be very visible, if not immediately, later on. It is absolutely a very effectively and strategically implantable and useful tool, but just because it worked like a charm for the recovery, we should not substitute all recovery runs to cycling.
It is another subject, but recovery or unload weeks can be boosted by cycling. It removes impact, it removes some pressure, but maintained the cardiovascular stimulus, especially if we followed a quality Z1 Z2 training routine. Also, when an athlete is habitually practicing 2 week up one week down step type periodization and not being able to step up the level to 3 week of load for 1 week of recovery, cycling can be implemented and gradually by months, substituted down to running. Sorry it is my favorite subject: Periodization and programming.


Fuel up properly before a recovery run. If it is longer than 1h, bring on some hydration and sugar during. Keep your heart rate below zone 2, not very low though. Keep your biomechanics perfect. Work on mobility before the run and after. Warm up properly and use low impact run drills. Cooldown and finish off walking, seeing your heart rate to descend.
Do this 3 times a day, nap in-betewen and instead of 6 days, your recovery and adaptations will be ready in 2 to 3 days. You will cut recovery to half, while increased total training volume and imprinted proper biomechanics. Use cushioned shoes on hard surfaces and minimalist shoes on soft surfaces. Use the treadmill if can. Initially you can include cycling, but don’t substitute all your recovery runs to the bike !

This is it. No fuss, but a recovery run is definitely not a 15min zombie shuffle done once, with aching ankles.

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