courir mieux

Recovery : Run less to run better

"No pain, no gain!": with the idea in mind that they need to suffer to improve, many runners force themselves through training sessions that are ever more demanding, with faster runs and outings that are longer every time. And yet this is not enough to be at their best on race day. The secret? Recovery.


Recover... during 1 session

If you follow a training schedule, you know about recovery. And you are well aware that depending on the length of the recovery, the same session could be easy or extremely difficult. On days when you are feeling good, you might feel like increasing your pace and racing through your 400 m or 1000 m at an unreasonable speed, even if it means prolonging recovery during the last intervals. Don't do it! It is important to carefully respect both the exercise time and the recovery time, since they are defined based on your goals and abilities. In every club, there are runners who are ahead during training... and behind on race day! Don't aim for the wrong goal.


Recover... at the end of a session

At the end of an intense session, you have just one wish: to walk, sit, or even lie down to catch your breath and bask in the satisfaction of a job well done. But to reap the most benefits from the session and prepare for the next one, we recommend doing a "cool-down". That is to say, a jog for around ten minutes at a very slow pace. If you run on a track, you can do this barefoot on the lawn and, if possible, in the opposite direction of your session. It is a very pleasant feeling of softness for your feet, and of great benefit to the muscles and tendons intensely involved in your workout.


Recover... between two sessions

During your general or specific training periods, you should always respect the "recovery weeks". This way, you set a pace of 3 weeks (or 2 weeks for beginners) of progressive training, followed by a lighter week (decrease the number of sessions per week and stick to simple jogs). By following a balanced training plan, you can be sure to avoid overtraining, injuries, and burnout and stay motivated.


Recover... between two training plans

Training plans allow you to reach your peak shape for your goal. All high-level athletes work this way, and it is unrealistic to want to be "on top" all year long. This is why, to generate true peak performance, you must know how to decrease the intensity of your training after a goal. After your race, you can plan for a week of complete rest, or go on a few slow jogs if you are more experienced. After long competitions, you could even go up to two weeks of rest, and then restart slowly before setting out on a new plan that will take you to your next goal.


Recover... between two seasons

One of the great advantages of running is that you can do it all year long. However, it is wise to plan for a rest period between seasons. Athletes and cross-trainers do this in summer, while road or trail runners choose the end of the year, for example in December. In any case, the weather conditions, holidays, and New Year's celebrations make this period the perfect time for an annual break. If you have completed a particularly long and difficult race at another point in the year, you can take your break right afterwards. During this 3 to 4 week period, feel free to rest at first; then, you can explore other sports that you might forbid yourself from doing during the rest of the year. Have fun, and your desire to start back up at the beginning of January will be that much stronger, to fuel both your enjoyment and your performance.


Recovery plays an integral part in training for runners. Without a good recovery before, during, and after a session, short- and long-term improvement are not guaranteed. So your new motto could be: run less to run better!