Everyone knows what a recovery run is—a slower-than-usual run on the day after a particularly long or hard run. Sometimes it is prescribed to "flush out" the lactic acid from your legs and do other scientific stuff, although this article debunks that theory. Instead, the author, Matt Fitzgerald, explains that the real benefit of a slow recovery run is to enhance fitness by making your legs run in an already fatigued state. This is effective even though your running pace may be very, very slow.
Well, good. Because this morning I was very, very slow.
When I walked out the door I felt every bit of stiffness in my back and hips that I mentioned yesterday, except that unlike yesterday I didn't spring right into a comfortable lope which quickly progressed to an easy canter.* No, I would describe my starting gait** as somewhere between a lurch and a stagger, or maybe a totter, dodder, toddle, waddle, paddle, or coggle! (This is fun, isn't it?)
Possibly I exaggerate.
But I did start out quite slowly and with some difficulty. The Frankenstein-like posture went away pretty quickly, but I stayed slow for a long, long time. My first full mile was over 11 minutes, and it took three and a half miles before I could manage a split under ten minutes! And then it wasn't much under.
After four miles I did start posting miles with "9" in them (although I still couldn't see the Garmin due to lack of daylight; I found this out later), but strangely enough that is when my legs started feeling heavy. I guess they hadn't been in the beginning; I was just slow then for other reasons!
Despite my rough time, and despite my intent to only go about seven miles this morning, I did end up finishing eight miles exactly (the last tenth or so achieved by passing my house then returning).
Just to prove that I don't just acknowledge my splits when I am proud of them, here are my final stats.
8 miles, 1:20:31, 10:03 average pace.
Splits 11:15, .53 mile at 10:36 pace, 10:24, 10:01, 9:51, 9:50, 9:38, 9:22, .47 mile at 9:28 pace.
I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't manage to pick up my average pace to under 10 minutes (it was that first mile that done me in!), but I don't really care. I know that this result is a direct effect of running the day after a long run, and in fact two long runs over a three day period this weekend!
With 11.25 miles on Friday and 15.75 on Sunday, I ran a total of 27 miles just in the weekend (including Friday as weekend, of course, and if it isn't, it should be!). That's a marathon! Granted, some people do a marathon in four to five hours (or less), and I did it in about 30 hours (from the beginning of my Friday run to the end of the Sunday run). My mileage for the week, Monday through Sunday, was over 42 miles (42.65). I don't know if that is my top mileage, but anything over 40 miles is way more than my monthly average a few months ago.
I have been looking at the McMillan calculator again, and almost all of my recent race results are pretty closely aligned to McMillan's predictions for 5K, 15K, and half marathon. The one race I am way off on is 10K. Depending on which baseline race you use, I should be able to get close to a 50 minute time, even under based on one comparison. However, my PR is 52:44 (with an unofficial 51:30 during the first 10K in the Fairhaven 15K and 51:50 during my tempo run last Friday). I guess I'm due to try another 10K...before I slow down again for the winter!
*Not sure how I got into the horsey terms!
**Again with the equine words!