Monday, April 27, 2015

Slow Recovery

I owe the 24 hours race a lot. It elevated me from average part-time jogger at any other distance to a holder of 2 national medals and an international runner to boot. I have represented the country of my birth in a world championship, which still seems a ridiculous statement, even months after I qualified and was selected, and after the event itself. For some reason that I cannot explain myself I seem to be able to cope with the demands of a 24 hours race better than most. In short, I have much to be grateful for.

But there is one thing that I absolutely hate about the 24 hours race:

It's the recovery period afterwards.

Going on past experience it will take 3-4 months until I finally feel more or less recovered. Until then, things will gradually get better, but that's the thing. They can't help but getting better because I re-start at such a low level.

I started running again last week. I could barely run, it was such a pathetic shuffle; I was almost unable to lift the legs. I don't know what it looked like - I would not want to know!

One week later and my watch clearly tells me that things are a lot better already but I can barely feel it. The first mile of each run especially is still a pathetic hobble. I know I'm not exactly a spring chicken at the age of 45 but I feel twice my age for the first 5-10 minutes of each run. Once the muscles warm up things do improve but running an 8-minute mile is still a bit of a challenge. Having said that, I'm not actually trying to run a certain pace. I just run at whatever pace feels natural - the one thing I'm consciously trying to do is keep a reasonably quick cadence, and even that becomes automatic after a mile or two.

The pace was a bit quicker over the weekend, but at the expense of a higher HR - not that I would have noticed without the watch. When I'm in shape, I really have to push the effort to average 151 bpm. Right now that happens without any real effort.

My HR/pace ratio is improving, slowly, after literally being off the scale at first. Still, there is a lot of scope for further improvements.

I was just dead tired on Monday. Not only did I have to survive 2 birthday parties for the twins, the unexpected nice weather meant a few hours of work in the garden, which I am no longer used after teh winter, and of course today just about everything hurts, from my legs to my back to my shoulders. As  a result, I cut today's mileage back to 5 again - mostly to give me an extra 20 minutes of sleep - well worth it! Oh, and those 2 birthday parties over one weekend meant that my weight is basically back to pre-race levels!

24 Apr
5 miles, 43:21, 8:38 pace, HR 147
25 Apr
5 miles, 40:38, 8:07 pace, HR 151
26 Apr
8 miles, 1:04:56, 8:07 pace, HR 151
27 Apr
5 miles, 42:08, 8:25 pace, HR 142


  1. And I don't like the "long" recovery period after a half marathon!

  2. Your slow recovery is a strong indication of just how hard you pushed yourself. Getting ill just before the race has to have an affect on your race and subsequent recovery. Pretty extraordinary just how well you raced.

    Recovery does rather push the patience though, It's only 5 days since the Highland Fling and I'm along way from recovered but am getting itchy feet having to wait for all the aches and niggles to subside. I've been shuffling on all my short little runs this as well, but my HR has stayed nice and low.

    Is there any chance you've got low level virus that is elevating your HR?