If you're new to the 10K race distance, you may not be sure how much time you need for recovery after your race.
Sure you may "feel up" to resuming your training soon after your event. But does that mean you should? And how do you build recovery into your training to ensure you don't risk injury after your race?
More: 10 Steps to a Successful 10K
Accomplished masters runner and running coach Art Ives offers the following recovery tips to maximize your 10K race experience and ensure your body is effective and healthy both during and after race day.
Tip No.1: Taper Your Mileage Before Race Day
As a runner gets closer to race day, he/she will most likely go through a period when they're combining long runs with tempo runs and some interval training.
As the last week of 10K training approaches, a runner should enter what is called a "taper period." Ives suggests for runners to, "run considerably less, but keep the same intensity," during this period.
By maintaining high-intensity workouts, the body is encouraged to perform, but by running fewer miles, the legs are kept fresh and are ready to go on race day.
More: How to Plan Your Taper
Tip No.2: Bring Back the Miles and Intensity Slowly
Allowing adequate time for the body to actively rest and recover after your 10K is essential, but it's important to recognize the difference between "rest" and "active rest".
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Ives suggests that runners actively rest by slowly reintroducing volume and intensity to the workout. "Recognize where you are in the continuum of training," says Ives, and focus on some of the other physical activities that you enjoy.
This is also a great time to cross -train. After several days, slow runs can be reintroduced, and, after one week, a runner can resume his/her regular running routine.
Tip No.3: Maintain Consistency
Many runners incorrectly assume that it is best to take several days off after race day. Ives insists that it is much more important to maintain consistency.
By taking more than two days off in a row, "a runner can tighten up, or will begin 'detraining'," says Ives. A runner's tissues need continuous activity to remain in top performance shape.
By slowly incorporating low-intensity workouts, and then by adding low-mileage/low-intensity runs into the routine, the body is able to stay in race-ready shape, while also being allowed to recover.10K.