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Recovery For Endurance Training

Sports Science Basics for Runners

By Dr. David Cosman in Hong Kong


Recovery can be looked at from a few different angles, but overall, recovery and a strength/conditioning foundation are joined at the hip.

How would you do going up a second or third big hill in one race? Being conditioned can be considered the ability to transition from heavy running to light then hard again within one event. Running easier on the flats between vertical climbs can be used as recovery strategy.

A second way to look at recovery is to manage it using rest days or easy tempo runs.

The third necessity for recovery would be resting an injury.

Over-training is detrimental to an athlete’s progress and longevity. Relying purely on too many long runs to build up to a desired distance is an over-training rookie error that potentially leads to injuries. On the other hand, a rest day followed by a strength and conditioning day is like taking two recovery days from a long run.

Plan your training by mixing strength and speed and technique with endurance, and include easy tempo (timing/technique) runs and interval speed work.

Good recovery can dovetail cardiovascular health if it is defined by how fast your heart rate comes back to a normal resting heart rate. If your training heart rate does not come down within 30 minutes, you might want to visit you doctor for a check up.

Consider these tips:

  1. Gain and retain a foundation of strength and conditioning, then build up the endurance with a balanced training schedule depending on your periodization (when is the big race?)

  2. Take rest days

  3. Get 8 hours of sleep

  4. Nourish yourself with good nutrition

  5. Get massage and stretch wisely, not excessively

  6. Chronic aches and pains might require combinations of therapies (for example: chiropractic alignment and Stecco Method Fascial Manipulation to allow clear nervous system coordination and smooth force of transmission from body segment to body segment).

  7. Take immediate care of acute injuries

  8. Warm up and cool down consistently

These tips might help with your recovery efforts. Professional coaches are suppose to know best; use one who you trust. If you feel unusually sluggish, consult with your medical doctor to rule out medical health problems.

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