Recovery Running (3.25 miles)

A recovery run is a short, slow run (for me, that’s 3 or 4 miles, at around a ten minute mile) used to shake out your tight muscles more than build any speed or distance,   A “recovery run” is something I usually only do the day after a long run – say, a run longer than 13 miles.  Today was the first day that I needed a recovery run to follow up a 10K, and after 2 days of rest.

You know how I said trail running works different muscles, and one reason for not doing a longer trail run is the risk of injury?  Well, those 6.55 miles on Saturday left my quads trashed.  Everything muscle I am used to  tiring out felt fine, but by Sunday night my quads ached so much I had to grip the handrail while making my way down our stairs.  Those steep climbs and punishing descents had done a number on me.  Not to the point that I would say I was injured, just really, really sore, the kind of pain that makes you stronger, but is also a sign of having worked a bit too hard.  The only other time I’ve felt like this was the days after the marathon, but this time I hadn’t even run 7 miles!

After two days of recuperation, I went for my usually 3 mile run at lunch today.  The weather was quite warm, an early preview of the unpleasantness that is to come as Spring transitions into summer.  While I think that anyone who ever runs the Badwater Ultramarthon is a stark-raving masochist, I have taken to using that insane race as a moderating focus if its hot and I’m running: “This is nothing!  You could be running in 125 degree weather in Death Valley!”  Not that today was bad at all, but I never look forward to the onset of summer; Spring is always far too fleeting.

I only ran down to 155th, over to Harlem, then back up and over the McComb’s Dam back to the Bronx, not doing anything too fancy or fun.  On the way back to LGJ, I passed the entrance to the recently constructed McComb’s Dam Park and decided to go check out the track, which I’d seen on Googlemaps but never visited.  As I’ve written before, I’m not big on “training” and don’t care much for speed or speed work, but occasionally I think one day a week of a structured speed workout would be good for me, both in terms of my running and for variety.  I ducked in and just did a slow lap around the track, and while I am sure I would get bored of going in quarter-mile circles very quickly, there was something sort of cool about running on an nicely maintained track.  I’ll probably be back.

I felt good after my run, and my quads seem to be recuperating.  I think tomorrow I’ll run part of the way back home and see how that goes.


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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3 Responses to Recovery Running (3.25 miles)

  1. Hope says:

    Huh. Your recovery run is my tri-weekly workout. Just did it this morning, and it was almost (but not quite) as much as I could take. Guess I need to keep training 🙂

    • Chris Van Dyke says:

      And Deana Castor runs 12 miles before breakfast, then 12 miles after lunch. It’s all relative : )

      • Hope says:

        True, true. And since we are all at different stages, and we cannot know what the other is thinking or suffering, it makes absolutely no sense to measure my progress against yours, or Deana Castor, or anyone else. But that is a very hard habit to break!

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