Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thoughts On Recovery

I'm not entirely sure how I got bounced into this but I ended up racing on three consecutive weekends, Ballycotton, Tralee and the county championships. That would be okay if we were talking about 5k or 10ks but Tralee was a full marathon and that changes things. The usual rule of thumb is to take it easy for a day for each mile raced, so to run a 5k only one week after Tralee was never in the recommendations. On the plus side, after 75 marathons you do tend to recover quicker because you are so used to it, and none of the 3 races had been 100% all-out efforts (though a 62 minute 10 miler and a 3:05 marathon do come fairly close).

The physiological response after a marathon always tends to follow a certain pattern, albeit with variations. I always put on a few pounds in the week after a marathon and it's not because I tend to eat anything in sight (ok, I did a few hours after the marathon but not since). I think it has something to do with fluid retention, though I have no way to confirm that. Only in the recent 2 days has my weight started coming down again, so it did last 10 days this time.

The immediate muscle ache tends to go away after 2 or 3 days but the legs tend to feel a bit sluggish for a lot longer. Often it's the quads that are suffering, especially after a hilly race, but this time it's definitely the hamstring/glutes. Interestingly, the calves always felt fine, even the day after the race, even though that was the most problematic area during the race itself with all the cramping issues.

One thing I know for sure is that easy running every day leads to faster recovery than full rest. I used to think I'm the only one doing that but have since come to realise that this is a reasonably common recovery strategy. I even came across a scientific study recently that came to the same conclusion, though I have no idea now where to find it and can't therefore provide a link.

With Manchester just two weeks from next Sunday, there isn't much time to play around. Recovery from my recent races leads straight into the taper, so there isn't much serious training going on. There were really only 2 workouts left, and I actually swapped them around because I did not feel up to 18 miles this morning and preferred an extra half hour of sleep, so I did the 15 miles that were originally pencilled in for Sunday this morning and will do 18 on Sunday, IF and only if I feel up to it. 2 weeks before Manchester isn't the time to run myself into the ground again.

I can feel some life creeping back into the legs and the last couple of days were a tad faster than expected, though right now the numbers don't look great - well, Tralee wasn't that long ago, I'm aware of that. Right now I'm not overly optimistic about Manchester to be honest, but maybe the next 17 days will provide an upswing. Ah well. Fact of the matter is that it's a goal race, yes, but only a B one.

21 Mar
5 miles, 41:18, 8:15 pace, HR 139
22 Mar
am: 4 miles,33:03, 8:15 pace, HR 137
pm: 4 miles,33:34, 8:23 pace, HR 133
23 Mar
10 miles, 1:17:03, 7:42 pace, HR 146
24 Mar
15 miles, 1:57:11, 7:48 pace, HR 143


  1. I would have thought you were in great shape for Manchester. A 3:05 on a hilly course, not at full effort, has to be a good benchmark.

  2. No harm feeling like an underdog going into Manchester!