As a runner I’ve often heard of people talk about doing recovery runs and wondered whether this would benefit me as a runner. I’ve since decided to do some research on the recovery run issue to see if I should incorporate this into my training.
During my research I came across this article (http://www.active.com/running/Articles/A_fresh_perspective_on_recovery_runs.htm) which states that recovery runs do not enhance recovery, what they actually do is increase your fitness by challenging your body to run in a pre-fatigued state.
Many runners have taken on the myth of recovery runs flushing out lactic acid whereas lactic acid after a run usually returns within an hour of the runs completion. Most experienced marathon runners actually advise against a recovery run (and even stretching) after a marathon as, in some cases, they can actually do more harm than good.
However, there are a large majority of runners who wholly invest in recovery runs and believe they help in their overall goal of recovering after a race.
So, in conclusion, I’m no further forward with regards to my own training and whether to incorporate them. I think that if I am to put them into my training schedule then I need to get into the mindset that recovery runs are not actually for recovery more about building up and maintaining fitness by running in a fatigued state to challenge the body, the mind and the muscle.
Like most things in running (and in life) there are people for and against and at the end of the day I can do as much research as I want but in the end I can only make the decision based on hard practice. So, the day after my next 13 mile run I may go out for an easy 4 mile jog and see how I feel after that. In the meantime the foam roller appears to be working wonders, I’m surprised its taken me so long to get around getting one but now that I have one I would recommend them to any runner as beneficial.