3 Ways to Recover Properly for Long-Term Results

Many runners take on intense training schedules and workout hard to get fast results. Others focus too much on the outcomes and forget to schedule any rest for their bodies. Studies have showed that many runners only rest when their body “needs it.” Yet, this should not be the case.

It is advised to always rest before your body requires you to do so. This too will help you avoid any injuries or fatigue. It has been proven that by taking a rest before its necessary, the individual ends up accumulating more training overall.

Here are three different recovery cycle approaches that a runner can use.



1. Micro-cycle

Duration: Seven days
The classic approach is to take one day of complete rest every week. But you may need to add rest days or alter their intensity. Logging less than 30 miles per week? Take two rest days. If you’re at 60+ miles, schedule a full day off every other week but do one day of jogging or light cross-training during the “on” week.


2. Meso-cycle

Duration: Two to four weeks
Periodically, reduce your mileage by 20 percent for one week to consolidate gains. If you’re building up after a break, increase mileage by up to 10 percent for three weeks before taking a down week. Once you’re back to pre-break mileage or at a mileage you’ve comfortably handled in the recent past, alternate two up weeks with one down week. If you’re pushing into new territory, alternate one up and one down. When resuming mileage after the cut-back week, pick up where you left off.


3. Macro-cycle

Duration: Four to six months
Runners often race throughout the year without taking any significant breaks, leaving them vulnerable to injuries and burnout. Break the year into two or three macro-cycles, each ending with a goal race followed by a week-long break. During that seven-day period, cross-train, rest, and/or do light jogging (limit light jogs to four). Take one 14-day break every year: one week of no running followed by a week of cross-training or easy jogging.


(Information credited to Alex Hutchinson, a former physicist, a lifelong runner, and a science journalist.) 


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