Ask the Coaches

Each month we pick out a question from one of our members and our running coaches offer their expert advice.

Whether you're working on your first 5k, want to smash your marathon PB or are confused about an obscure term, our team of experts can help you.

Check out our archives for past questions and answers.

This Month's Question

This month's question is from Luke in Yeovil. Luke is wondering about recovery runs:

I hear a lot about recovery runs. Are they just slower runs or do they actually have anything to do with recovering?

- Luke, Yeovil

Simon Loughran
Simon - Middle-distance runner and athletics coach

“As with so many running terms, different people use "recovery run" to mean different things.

Some use it to mean the same thing as an easy run. So, there are no restrictions on how long the session is, just that it is easy-paced.

Others use it to mean slower than easy run pace.

Others - and this is my personal preference - use it to mean a run that promotes recovery. The key idea is that going out and performing a recovery run should have a greater positive effect on recovery than doing nothing. If your goal is recovery then you should be really careful about running too fast or doing too much, otherwise your efforts will have the opposite of the intended effect.

In this sense, the runs are a form of "active recovery" Active recovery doesn't have to include running: walking, massage, warm baths, stretching, swimming, and any light activity can get blood flowing and improve recovery.”

Our Member's Answer

This month's member's answer is from Gromit in Guildford. Gromit races hard so should know a thing or two about recovery runs:

Gromit - Hard racer

“I like going for a recovery run the day after a hard race (which is a lot - I LOVE racing). I always keep it short and just try to feel like the run is restoring energy rather than being extra training.”

Thanks, Gromit. Cracking response.

Next Month

Next month's question is from Gillian in Glasgow. Gillian asks:

Everybody says I have a very bouncy running style. I understand the correct term is "vertical oscillation" and my Garmin agrees it is too high. Is it that much of a problem? How do I go about fixing it?

- Gillian, Glasgow

Pop back in February for our answer to Gillain's query.

Want to answer Gillian's question or ask your own? Become a member and get involved.