Recovery runs are supposed to be slow runs undertaken within 24 hours after a harder run. The purpose is to facilitate recovery from preceding hard training.
I have started on recovery runs before...only to end up running faster than originally planned and feeling sore. The competitive spirit in me finds it difficult to maintain a slow pace throughout a run.
I don't think I can call today's 6-mile run as a recovery run, because I had 2 days off from running after the long run on Tuesday (and only did a mild swim workout on Wednesday). It sure felt like one though, due to the mild aches and pains accumulating over the last couple of weeks. I was determined to keep it really slow throughout, about a minute a mile slower than my usual easy runs. At one point, I found myself stifling an enormous yawn; a few minutes later, I tripped on a clump of grass, and realized I had almost dozed off. The mid-morning heat added to the feeling of lethargy.
During the last few miles however, my knees felt less stiff than they had been for a while, my muscles relaxed. I realized how much I had pushed my body over the last few months and how well it had responded under the circumstances. From 10-20 mpw to 30-40 mpw...plus the swimming/cycling and strength training. Through this process, I have gained a new appreciation for my body. In spite of minimal maintenance (I am erratic with my knee, achilles, hip and back stretches), this engine has been chugging along gamely, trying to keep pace with my expectations. Granted, it is not anywhere in the vicinity of the tough and rugged bodies of triathletes, ultramarathoners or elite athletes, but it's been faithfully pulling my weight over the last 3 and a half decades.
Today's pseudo recovery run may have just been a psychological boost (there are mixed views to the benefits of recovery runs), but I promise to pay more attention in the future toward the upkeep of this loyal machine.