Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Post Ten Marathon Blues

What do you do when you have just taken part in an event as epic as the 10in10? It's taking me a while to adjust back to reality, I have yet to make it to work on time and with a full set of work equipment, so there's definitely room for improvement. Do I even want to get back to reality? I guess the bills still need to be paid and the children would go hungry if we ran out of food, so maybe I'll do as is expected from me for a change.

As for a damage report, there isn't much to report. There is no soreness in the legs, though they are quite stiff and feel rather heavy. I did not suffer from any blisters or chafing. The Achilles had been sore over the last 2 marathons, so I guess it's good the event ended when it did as I was heading for trouble. I did not suffer from cramps, which is probably down to the slower pace of these marathons as well as the fact that I took plenty of electrolytes, in the form of Nuun (before the races) and s-caps (during the races). The heat did not affect me as much as I would have expected, obviously it did slow everyone down but I did not particularly suffer - and I did get a lovely tan. Niamh is dead jealous.

One thing she is not jealous about is the fact that not only did I not lose any weight, I gained 2 pounds! I could not believe it when I stepped on my scales back home, I expected to be at least half a stone lighter, maybe more. In these kind of events it is quite common for the body to retain water which will then get released a few days later, but it's already 3 days since the last marathon and my weight has not shifted.

As for running these kind of events, I had no real idea how I should pace myself or what I should do between the races. I started out about half an hour slower than my marathon times, but in hindsight that was a bit too fast, 10 more minutes in the first couple of races would have been better. On the other hand I'm glad I did not follow the advice of running an hour slower (I got that third-hand), that would have been excessively slow and my legs felt awkward during the first "slow" 16 miles as it was.

It took me 5 days to perfect my nutritional regime, initially I tried eating a decent sized lunch but that did not sit well with me and I did suffer from a lot of stomach discomfort during the first few races. Eventually I settled on eating a humongous breakfast every morning (a big bowl of muesli, a big bowl of porridge, a yoghurt and a big helping of scrambles eggs on toast) and very little for lunch (a piece or two of fruit and maybe a scone or similar). I never fancied much after the races; there was a pizza place right opposite my B&B but I could never stomach even the thought of pizza. Rik offered my some of his one evening and I could barely finish one thin slice. I did have two recovery protein drink after the races (one immediately afterwards, one a little bit later), which most likely helped with the calories when I could not stomach solid food. I don't know how many calories that adds up to, but I'm very surprised that it would be enough to keep my weight stable (and no, I haven'd pigged out since).

For recovery I had a massage after most races, some cold baths (though we ran out of cold water) and initially compression tights, though I gave up on those as it was much too hot for wearing tights. One thing I did was a walk around Sixmilebridge for half an hour or an hour (I did not time them) every morning, to get some blood flowing in the legs and I'm sure that made a real difference. Apart from that walk I took it very, very easy all day.

I never slept well during the event, I always woke at 5 o'clock, sometimes I managed to fall back asleep for a little bit longer, sometimes I did not.

Since then I did not take a break. I have read that coming to a full stop after doing something like that would come as a shock to the body and is not recommended, so I did 5 very slow recovery miles every morning. One noticeable thing is that it takes 3 miles for the legs to loosen up. During the marathons I usually felt good after a mile. I mostly blame the early mornings, and I think it vindicates my strategy of taking a walk each race morning, though it has to be said that today was already much better.

I am signed up for Saturday's marathon in Killarney, but I am 95% sure that I won't be running it. I only signed up because I wanted to support my local race but it was a silly thing to do, I have to recover from Sixmilebridge before tackling any other races.

14 Jul
5 miles, 45:37, 9:07 pace, HR 122
15 Jul
5 miles, 44:42, 8:56 pace, HR 128
16 Jul
5 miles, 41:26, 8:17 pace, HR 122

P.S. No idea if the HR values are correct, or even possible. I have finally ordered a Polar HR strap to see it that makes a difference. I'm fed up with Garmin's appallingly bad HR strap.

P.P.S. My weekly mileage last week (Monday to Sunday) was 162.32 miles. Yes, that's a new personal best and rather unlikely to be eclipsed any time soon.


  1. Excellent post marathon report. Not like you not to run another marathon a week after so you must be somewhat tired. Guess all you can do is recover and mentally face the next challenge and engage in a slow long taper. All the hard work is done for it now.again well done, amazing stuff.

  2. Just back my two week holiday in Spain, so missed your daily reports of 10x10, Now that I'm back it's great to see that you completed the huge challenge and am already recovery.

    The HR readings might well be correct and the extra weight could well be both signs of your bodies adaptations to the heat of racing by increasing your blood volume.

    Well done!

  3. Don't worry about the HR readings, Arthur Lydiard said never to trust them. He said to use it only to make sure you're not going too fast.

  4. Great running.

    I think the HR values are plausible. HR goes down in he early stage of over-training.. I guess that 10 in 10 might have something in common with over-training! So maybe the HR readings confirm you need to take it easy for the time being – but you already know that.

    (I hope this has not appeared on multiple occasions. Despite entering the requested letters and numbers, it didn't appear to post the first time