Active Rest: The Ideal Post-Race Recovery Method


Three cheers to you if you completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon,  another fall marathon, or whatever your target race was for the 2018 season! If your season is coming to an end, now is not the time to become a couch potato. Instead, you should continue running and working out on some scale with active rest.

What is Active Rest?

Simply, instead of going from logging tons of miles to doing nothing, active rest means continuing to stay active,  but a slower pace and lesser distance. You should not work above 65 percent of your maximum heart rate; pushing yourself too much can bring on the production of lactic acid, which is a substance you are trying to flush from your muscles.


Adequate rest can help prevent repetitive stressinjuries, a common side effect of overtraining.

However, a day off shouldn’t necessarily mean doing nothing; being moderately active can actually help your body recover faster than doing nothing.

Getting your heart rate up helps to get your blood flowing, bringing oxygen and nutrients to muscles damaged by working out. Getting your blood pumping will also help flush away waste products like lactic acid that can build up in muscles post exercise.

Here are the guidelines for adding active rest to your workoutschedule:

  • Work out at a moderate rate – you should be able to carry on a conversation easily without pausing to catch your breath.
  • You should work out for at least 20 minutes, but remember not to overdo it.
  • Some ideas for active rest exercise: a run with walking breaks, a bike ride or spinning class, a leisurely paced swim or my favorite: walking or running in a pool. Even non-swimmer can do that.

Now that your big race is behind is it time to simply enjoy your running. The focus should be on enjoyment instead of long distance at a certain race pace. Relax, recover and recharge as you dream about planning for your next marathon and future goals.

If you want to join my training program, The Road to Boston, visit The Winter Base Training begins December 1!

See you on the road.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here