Setting The Stage
Like any analysis that involves a myriad of influencing factors, the first thing we need to do is establish our assumptions and control some of the variables.
First, for the purpose of this in-depth breakdown, we’re going to assume that you’re implementing a thorough recovery plan after each workout. While ideal workout recovery is an article in itself, we’ll simply presume that you’re at least doing three things after each workout: (1) fueling properly; (2) getting plenty of sleep; and (3) stretching or getting massage to reduce soreness. Certainly, you can be doing more to speed your recovery, but this is the baseline we’ll use for general workout adaptations.
Second, we need to make an assumption about your general rate of recovery. It’s unfortunate, but some runners have the ability to recover faster than their peers. We all have that running pal who seems to bounce back from track workouts like he or she didn’t even run the day before (if you don’t know someone like this, then you’re the envy of all your running friends because you’re “that guy”). Likewise, runners generally recover slower as they get older. Typically, a 65-year old is going to take longer to recover from a hard workout than a spry runner in their mid-20′s. For the sake of keeping things simple, we’re going to assume your rate of recovery is about average for a 35 to 40-year old runner. If you’re older or have found that you recover much faster than your running peers, you’ll be closer to the outer numbers of the ranges presented in the following pages.