Sunday, April 8, 2012

Recovery + speed, a good combination

Today's run (street): 3.7 miles

My biggest motivation to get outside the next day after a tough workout is that I know I'm in for an easy run. The word I use is recovery, although I'm not sure that's how other runners may define that term. For me, it's liberation from the stopwatch, an opportunity to proceed at a comfortable pace, so I can focus on the sights and sounds of my surroundings.

A funny thing about these recovery runs is that I often introduce a little speed play into the mix. The relaxation eventually becomes an energizing force. Today's run was like that. I dressed with more layers than I'd have chosen for a performance run and set off for a trip around the neighborhood. I took it easy and followed a different route than normal, running around the nearby middle school where a boisterous game of adult flag football was being played.

When I changed direction for the first time, I was hit by some fairly strong headwinds and was doubly glad I had dressed on the warmer side. Today is Easter so the streets were quiet, and I enjoyed the lack of cars on the road. There weren't many people outside either, so I had the sunny streets all to myself.

By the time I reached three miles, I was ready to turn to home and I followed a route that had a long, but moderate, incline. Once I cleared that section, I poured on the speed and completed the last half mile at a pace 20 seconds faster than my overall average. That last burst of speed put my time within the range of a training, rather than a slow recovery, run.

I finished the weekend after logging almost 15 miles (25 for the week) and added yet another mile to my longest run (so far) this year. I may do some intervals tomorrow, even though I usually take Monday as a rest day. I'll need to wrap up my taper for Sunday's 5K by Friday. Right now I'm in great shape for long runs, but I'm not sure my 5K speed is ready to tap.

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