In part one we touched on active recovery and the main idea behind achieving your goals the fastest way possible without risking overdoing it. The underlying main theme of movement heals and daily movement playing a major part in recovery.
In this 2nd edition we are taking a closer look at how different intensities can facilitate recovery while also allowing us to continue our training.
Use Different Intensities instead of “Just Resting”
It’s normal to think that after a training day simply resting and not doing anything the next day will act as enough rest.? However, if our goal is to reach the desired level of fitness as fast as we can, then this is a sub-optimal training protocol.
Instead, we can use varying levels of intensity (and different training modalities) to continue to increase fitness levels while maintaining enough recovery.
Here are 2 examples of running programs that are designed to prepare a runner for medium to long distance races:
Example 1: Different Intensities with Other Modalities
Example 1 is the first 5 weeks of a distance based training program – this example incorporates 3 strictly running days, 2 cross training (or “functional fitness”) days where one can mix things up for instance swimming, cycling or rowing that still contributes to the aerobic capacity that the runner needs, 1 strictly stretching and strength day, and finally 1 rest day.
Notice that although there is only 1 rest day during the week, the training intensities, duration, modalities and volume are changing every day.? Day 1 each week does not involve any running at all and incorporates strength and mobility.
Then, there are 3 days in a row that include a task-based running.? If you have a goal of time for your run, this is a great opportunity to work on different pacing with the different duration.? After the 4th session, then a rest day is incorporated.? The day after the rest, once again there is no running involved, simply cross-training for 30 min.? Finally, the week ends with the longest run of the week.? The tapering from that week has allowed your body to recover while continuing to train.
The progressive overload has also meant that the actual distances increase, hopefully with similar pacing, which increases both volume and intensity for the athlete.
Example 2: Different Intensities Using a Target Heart Rate
Example 2 is the first 5 weeks of an intensity-based and time-based training program ? it alternates between 3 or 4 days running at set Target Heart Rates and changes in duration and intensity. That leaves space for 3 to 4 days of ?active recovery? or cross training days where we can focus on mobility, stretching and strength training. All factors any runner needs to incorporate if they want to reach their goal safely.
Over 5 weeks, the intensity increases a few times, but the volume decreases, which allows the body to recover better while slowly adding that progressive overload.
Always Use Strength AND Mobility to help recover.
Both programs will essentially improve your running as they incorporate space for other modes of training that are strength, flexibility and mobility based. But if they were left at only running days and resting days one would simply run 3 to 4 days a week and just not do anything else the other 3-4 days of the week. That amount of running will likely (although not definitely) improve your running capacity, but your strength gains, mobility and flexibility won?t.?
Incorporating strength, mobility and other forms of training into a running program, for instance, will assist in faster recovery as one mode of training loads a certain system while the other mode will assist in recovering an overloaded system the next day.
This is also key to avoiding injury!? Improving the range of movement (mobility) and strength of the soft tissue (tendons, ligaments and muscles) is vital to avoiding the types of injuries that occur from single-modality training.
Don’t worry if this still seems a little vague in terms of what you should be doing in addition to your running (or other monostructural-style conditioning like cycling or swimming) to optimize both rest and training volume.
In part 3 I?ll dig in further to exactly what you should be doing to reach your fitness goals safely AND quickly!
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