The third and last principle of effective training execution is that of recovery. As I learned the hard way when training for my first marathon, you cannot train harder every single week for the full 12 to 24 weeks you devote to preparing for a big race. Your body needs regular, small opportunities (easy runs, days off) and somewhat less frequent medium-sized opportunities (recovery weeks) to regenerate throughout the training process. Prefabricated training plans always include rest days, easy days, and recovery weeks. You can duplicate the effect without planning by including easier days in your standard weekly workout schedule and by regularly reducing your workload every third or fourth week as you go. The thing about recovery, though, is that you inevitably end up needing it when you did not expect to need it. Your body tells you loudly and clearly when it needs a rest. While planned rest days and recovery weeks will often anticipate this need, they will not always do so, and consequently if you are unable to recognize your body’s need for recovery or unwilling to address it properly, your training will always go disastrously off course. Because it is relatively easy to recognize fatigue and critically important to address it, training yourself to pay attention and respond to the need for recovery is one of the best possible places to start developing your mind-body connection as a runner. If you can master that, the rest will follow.