When running is your job, recovery is all in a day’s work.
As a professional runner, Polar athlete Molly Huddle knows it takes more than just running hard and eating well to nab a spot on the podium. The 32-year-old Providence, RI-native is a two-time U.S. Olympian (she set the American record for the 10,000 meters at the Rio Olympics last summer, placing sixth overall), two-time winner of the New York City Half (she ran a 1:07:41 to win last March), and recent debut marathoner (her 2016 race in New York City was good enough for third place, and she was the first American female finisher).
So after an especially tough workout, Huddle, who trains and races with the Polar M430, prioritizes recovery. “I’ll take an ice bath, eat something, foam roll, and get a massage,” she says. “And sometimes I’ll try to take a nap, too.”
Recovery is as important to training as the training itself
Running, eating, a massage, and a nap: Sounds like a dream day, right? But for Huddle – and as many athletes of all levels have come to learn – recovery is as important to training as the training itself.
That’s why, with goal races – like her 26.2 debut last year – Huddle knows that recovery is extra important, and is the key to getting her back on her fast feet as soon as possible. “After a shorter goal race, I usually take a week off from workouts and just do recovery runs,” she says. “And I make sure I see a chiropractor and get a massage to make sure nothing is injured.”
For her New York City Marathon recovery – which came at the end of her season – Huddle’s post podium routine involved short, easy runs every other day for a week. After a week of easy running on alternate days, Huddle continued with easy runs and increased her distance every day for the following month.
While runs are allowed, hard efforts are off-limits. “I don’t do any workouts for about five weeks after a goal race – which is a pretty big break for me,” Huddle says. “I also tried to throw some yoga in there so I didn’t get too stiff. That’s something I usually try to do in the off-season because I’m so bad at it that it actually makes me a little sore and tired!”