Ideally, I like to spread my training out over 4 to 6 days of the week, but practicalities can dictate otherwise.
When I am trying to introduce more intense work such as intervals, hills or sustained tempo runs, whilst also building up the mileage, it can be a squeeze. The extended warm down can be a solution to this, effectively giving ‘two sessions for the price of one’. Here’s an example.
Yesterday, having been unable to train for two days due to having very long working hours, I decided to do a thirty minute tempo run. As usual, I did ten minutes easy running as warm up before beginning my more intense effort. However, on completing the thirty minutes at a higher tempo, I continued running at an easy pace for a further forty minutes, giving a total of eighty minutes running, which equates to a decent endurance session. I noticed during the ‘warm down’ that my legs initially felt fairly heavy, as one might expect after a relatively hard effort, but after about ten minutes this feeling disappeared and my running felt as easy as if I had been running at this speed for the whole session. Which perhaps suggests that the extended warm down might actually be more effective at clearing any lactic acid in the muscles, in comparison to a more standard warm down of say ten minutes. Today I went out for a 45 minute easy run and felt fine, with no obvious carry over fatigue or stiffness from yesterday’s session, which perhaps provides further evidence for the effectiveness of the ‘two for the price of one’ session in terms of recovery. It’s as if the two elements complement each other. The faster work makes the steady running seem easy, at least psychologically, whilst the sustained period of slower running more effectively clears the muscles of lactic acid.