By Ciara Lucas
Why rest and recovery are your greatest weapon in marathon training
The term “recovery” has become somewhat of a buzzword in the fitness world. Does it mean to do absolutely nothing? Can light movement still count as recovery? Both can be true, but determining what a recovery routine looks like for you will depend on your goals and your body’s needs. When training for an endurance event like a marathon race, recovery will be crucial to sustain activity, prevent injury, and avoid burnout.
Active vs. full recovery
There are levels to approaching recovery. It can range from a sedentary day where you don’t leave the couch to a still moderately active day participating in a low impact activity.
An active recovery day should be taken 1-2 times a week to give your body a break from high-intensity training sessions. This allows your muscles and joints to recover and rebuild from the strain and exertion. Active recovery can be any activity that puts minimal stress and pressure on the body. Activities include
The primary focus should be an exercise routine that is gentle on your body while still remaining active.
Full recovery is just as important and necessary. We all need a total rest day! This should typically happen towards the end of the week, perhaps after a long run or a sequence of intense workouts. Consider this your pass to be totally lazy. It may feel odd doing nothing, but you’re actually doing your body a huge favor by allowing it to rest.
Neglecting recovery time can have dangerous consequences, often leading to overtraining and serious injury. It’s an athlete’s worst nightmare to put in so much hard work, only to have it be for nothing due to injury. So as tempting as it may be to always put in 100% effort, plan to give yourself a break every week.
Finding the right recovery routine for you
Recovery shouldn’t only be prioritized one or two times a week, but after every single training session, no matter how easy or hard it may have been. Progress and longevity can be achieved in the little things you do in between your workouts. That means properly cooling down and stretching, giving your body a nourishing post-workout meal, and staying hydrated.
Create a recovery routine that will set you up for success for your next run or workout. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be long or complicated. Take 10 minutes to do some foam rolling. Prepare a healthy meal that will repair and refuel your muscles. Go for a short walk to support blood circulation. Take a nap. Relax your mind with meditation. All of these small actions can lead to big results in return!
About the Author:
Ciara Lucas is a journalist, on-air talent, media professional, and fitness/wellness coach. Her multifaceted career brings a unique perspective and expertise to the Vionic Innovation Lab team.
Ciara’s professional career has encompassed contributing to local and national newsrooms including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, NBC Sports for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and NBC News coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march. When she’s not on screen, she’s building connections strengthened through sweat as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, helping clients find their meaning of sustainable health and happiness.
Ciara has created a personal brand and platform titled “Fit For A Queen” where she aims to empower, motivate, and inspire women from all walks of life to nurture their health and live their best lives by treating their bodies well. She is also an active member of the nonprofit Girls on the Run where she serves as a run coach for elementary school girls.