What Is A Recovery Run?

October 23, 2022

There’s so much more to running than just getting up and going for a run. You have to make sure you’re eating the right foods, and resting in between your runs, and you have to build up your stamina to make sure you are able to run for longer.

One of the mistakes beginner runners make is they don’t give themselves enough time to recover in between their runs and they don’t know about recovery runs either.

But what is a recovery run? In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about recovery runs and how they can help you improve your overall quality of running.

What Is A Recovery Run?

Long story short, a recovery run is a type of run that is very low in intensity that is done within 24 hours of your last running session.

The whole purpose of a recovery run is to help your body recover in between your high-intensity running workouts.

People who run quite a few times a week tend to do recovery runs a lot more than beginners, because it allows them to keep fit in between their sessions without overloading and overworking their bodies.

Recovery runs are meant to be really relaxed and are not meant to tax your body, so if you’re planning to implement recovery runs into your workout schedule, make sure that you don’t overdo it. Make sure you’re running slow and relaxed when you’re doing them.

Benefits Of Recovery Runs

There are loads of benefits to recovery runs that make them really good for your health.

These runs aren’t designed to repair your muscles, but they do help to reduce lactic acid build-up and in some cases, they can even speed up the recovery process. Some of the best benefits of recovery runs include:

  • Improving your mental health

Running and exercise in general are absolutely great for your mental health, and so are recovery runs. Because recovery runs are so slow and low maintenance, they can actually be very relaxing, which gives you a chance to reduce your stress levels and anxiety.

These runs also reduce lots of endorphins in your body, which makes your mental health even better.

  • Increases the circulation of your blood

Good blood flow is super important for your body. When you have good blood circulation, it helps flush out any waste your body doesn’t need, and it also helps to stop your muscles from getting stiff.

When you prevent this from happening to your muscles, this also reduces any pain or soreness.

  • Improves your running form

One of the most important things that actually improve your overall running performance is your running form. Having a good running form allows you to run for longer periods of time and actually increases your stamina.

Because recovery runs are so relaxed, this is the perfect time for you to work on your running form. Take it slow, and eventually, it will become second nature when you’re doing your exercise runs.

Knowing The Right Length & Time For The Recovery Run

When you’re getting ready to do a recovery run, you might be wondering what the right length of time for one is.

The most ideal time for a recovery run is between 20 to 40 minutes, and if you want to go by length, it’s about 2 to 5 miles. The length will vary depending on your own personal running ability.

That being said, you don’t need to measure the time and length if you don’t want to or you can run for a shorter amount of time. Recovery runs are meant to be relaxing after all.

How To Effectively Perform A Recovery Run

To perform a recovery run that is actually effective, all you need to do is follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Perform a high-intensity workout run first. This should be done no longer than 24 hours before you perform the recovery run. Recovery runs are most effective when you perform them after the high-intensity run.
  2. Choose the right route. For your recovery run, you want to make sure you pick a route that is as flat as it possibly can be. The more varied the elevation is on the route, the faster you will tire out. Remember, recovery runs are meant to be low-intensity and low-maintenance, so pick a route that won’t burn you out.
  3. Slow your pace right done. Now you have your route picked and you’ve started it, you will want to slow your pace right down. Don’t run at full speed and keep your pace at least half of your usual pace.
  4. Keep your recovery run short. Above all, don’t go on a long-distance run. Recovery runs are not designed for a high-intensity workout, they are designed for keeping it light and relaxed. As soon as you feel tired or you feel any soreness/pain, you should stop.

As long as you follow these steps when you are performing your recovery run, you should have no issues when you actually come round to performing it. The main keywords you need to remember with these recovery runs are “short & sweet” and “slow & steady”.

Give Your Body A Break

Once you’ve completed your recovery run, it is important that you give your body time to catch up and recover further.

Run yourself a warm bath, have a nice shower, treat yourself to a delicious meal, watch your favorite movie, or do something that really relaxes your body and mind.

This downtime is really important to just let your body catch up, so don’t take this relaxation time for granted.


Recovery runs are absolutely necessary if you are going to be spending a lot of your time running. They boost your body’s recovery process, help your mental health, and overall, they improve your stamina and endurance for your high-intensity runs.

Just remember: “slow & steady” and “short & sweet”. This should always be your main mantra when you go on a recovery run. They are meant to be relaxing!

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