Recovery Run – Heart Rate Priority

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  • #25311
    Michael G

    What is the primary priority in a “Recovery Run?” Luke Nelson’s 20-week plan calls for a 7-mile Recovery Run in week 4 at 70-80% of Aerobic Threshold. For me (50yrs, AeT 149 / AnT 167) that means a heart rate of 104-119.

    I can currently pull off a refreshing, comfortable and extremely slow run in the mid 120s but 119 seems right around the inflection point of sustained effort for fast walk vs extremely slow jog for me.

    I’ve seen previous posts stating that even very slow jogging has more training effect than walking/hiking and Scott answered an unrelated question of mine with “I’m hesitant to set a zone for recovery workouts. They should just FEEL very easy and refreshing. Sometimes that might mean running at 124 or it might mean walking at 104.”

    Based on experience is the priority the 119 heart rate ceiling and just take a 7-mile (mostly) hike or the refreshing extremely slow run in the mid 120s? I’m prepared to do either.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.


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    Anonymous on #25321

    Although going by feel is ideal, I lean toward the heart rate limiter. Most people (myself included) will convince themselves that real recovery is too easy or that something faster is “easy enough”.

    Anonymous on #25363

    Even a brisk walk can be a great recovery session. As Scott says the HR limit can be useful to keep one from turning the recovery session from turning into a capacity building workout. The whole purpose of these is to get recovered not to enhance fitness. Try to feel better at the end than you did at the beginning. If that means going slower or shorter then so be it. Don’t forget to substitute alternative modes of exercise if your legs are really trashed. An easy spin on the bike or a swim will be useful in those instances.


    Michael G on #25391

    Thank you. That all makes sense.


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