Regeneration

Recovery run? I just don't like the term. It is me being pedantic, but I like to use terminology that has some accuracy for me. I also like the titles to allude to a working definition. So why not recovery? Well it tends to conjure up images of lying back on the beach or at a resort while having drinks brought to me. Recovery, tends to suggest not running to me.

I like to use regeneration. I think the biology definition tends to be close to my goals:

 "the restoration or new growth by an organism of organs, tissues, etc., that have been lost, removed, or injured."

Which is pretty a big part of the aim of training. A regeneration run aims to enhance this process. This is all nice, but what is a regeneration run for me? Is it just an a very easy run?

To be annoying the answer can be both a yes and a no. To be less annoying I will explain...


...my regeneration runs have the goal of restoration and new growth. Therefore they shouldn't be hard. They shouldn't create the need for more recovery. They also add benefit beyond simply resting. Increasing blood and lymphatic flow assists in the recovery process. Running should enhance the regeneration of muscle and connective tissue as functional versus laying down scar tissue.  If good technique is practiced then the neuromuscular links can be improved.

Exactly how I perform one of these runs depends on the preceding training and how it has affected me. Typically the longer runs will require a short (30-45 minute) very easy run. Just enough to enhance the flow through the legs and tends result in paces slower than 6:30/km.

If the recovery is after higher intensity training such as intervals or a short race then the runs tend to be longer and faster. Something around an hour or a bit more with the focus on comfortable, but reasonable leg turnover. I don't worry about speed, but tend to often average about 5:30/km.

The key is never to force these runs in any way. Start extra easy and only pick up the speed if it feels natural to. I try to err on the side of being conservative and recently have finally come around to enjoying the super easy approach. I needed to get this right in my head. The fact it helps me actually be in better shape for the next hard session is a good motivator. I've been seeing the results and as a result have had weeks worth of the most consistent training I've achieved in well over a year.

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