A recovery run should be conducted at a Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) of 4 – 5, in Zone 1, or at 65% to 75% of your Lactate Threshold Pace/Heart Rate or Power. The duration of such a run should typically range between 40 and 60 minutes.
There are two main objectives of a recovery run within your training routine. Firstly, it permits you to increase your weekly running mileage at a significantly low effort level, thus necessitating minimal recovery time post-run.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly for long-distance runners, a properly executed recovery run at very low heart rates stimulates the Vagus nerve. This activation triggers your body’s “Rest and Digest” mechanism, or the parasympathetic system, instead of the “Fight or Flight” response, or the sympathetic system, which is elicited during more intense physical activities.
A recovery run should be conducted at a reduced heart rate with an emphasis on nasal breathing, ensuring longer exhales than inhales. It should be reminiscent of a meditative session. Make an effort to let stress-inducing thoughts pass by and to maintain a calm mental state throughout the run. A successful recovery run should function as a relaxing meditative practice, leaving you feeling rejuvenated at the end.