Thursday, May 05, 2016

Recovery Protocols

Obviously enjoying mile 21
As mentioned, Limerick was my 77th marathon (including ultras), and. as mentioned as well, I have worked out a very effective recovery protocol over the years. That doesn't mean everything is set in stone, of course. I learned a lot last weekend from barry Murray, and I have incorporated some of his ideas.

The general idea is that gentle exercise leads to much faster recovery than full rest, even if that sounds counter-intuitive. My usual pattern is to run 5 easy miles each morning until I feel better, then 8 miles and then the I'm back to normal training. Barry would probably recommend hill walking instead of recovery runs but since I have found that they work so well for me I kept that going, However, I have added 10 minutes of barefoot exercise in the garden, doing squats and box jumps and such kind, I also do similar exercises most evenings.

If it's down to the recovery protocol or increased fitness or the fact that I ran Limerick below race effort, recovery is going astonishingly well. On Monday I could barely tell that I had a marathon the day before; on Tuesday the legs were a little bit heavy. On Wednesday morning I felt fine. Mind, I am not claiming that all effects of the marathon have gone already, but my legs feel so good that I would not be able to gauge any real difference.

There could be another factor in the quick recovery. This one goes against my usual beliefs,

crossing the line in sync
I always run in lightweight trainers with very little cushioning. I find them very comfortable and neither want nor need spongy shoes. However, since I don't live in a cave I have heard plenty of praises for very cushioned shoes (I've heard the opposite as well). I never took too much notice as I always felt it should be my legs that deal with shock absorption rather than the shoes. What made me take notice, however, was seeing Katalin Nagy running rings around anyone else in Turin and the Spartathlon while wearing Hokas. So I took the plunge, bought a pair of Hoka Cliftons in a sale a couple of months ago, and wore them in Limerick. I still don't particularly like the cushioning but if  (IF!) they help with recovery then I'm all for it,

As for Barry Murray, he wrote a little summary of the weekend as well. I was a bit surprised that most comments I have received, either here or on FB, were about the bulletproof coffee. We spent 2 days in Wicklow and Barry talked for hours. He mentioned the coffee with no more than 2 or 3 sentences. Why this was the one point most people seemed to focus on, I'm not sure. Personally I felt the functional movement was the one I got the most out of, but as Barry said more than once "everything is connected", so focusing on one particular point only was always missing his point,

Anyway, since I felt so well on Wednesday I didn't just do a recovery run but did a few hill sprints on the same hill as last week. Neuromuscular training is part of Barry's recommendations, so that's where the inspiration came from. Again, I did not count them, though by coincidence I did the same number of sprints again. Well, apart from the fact that I cut the last one short because I felt I'd done enough already.

The races keep on coming thick and fast now in this particular training block. The next marathon is on Sunday. At least I hope it's going to be a marathon. I'm doing the Wings for Life run in Dublin, and if I want to run a full marathon I'll have to run it in 3:08 or faster on a hilly course. Not a given but certainly within the realms of possibility. I guess I'll find out.

3 May
5 miles, 41:11, 8:14 pace, HR 135
4 May
7 miles, 1:01:51, 8:50 pace, HR 139
   hill sprints
5 May
8 miles, 1:04:19, 8:02 pace, HR 141


  1. Wow, your next marathon is on Sunday! Have a great race!

  2. So since recovery is "going astonishingly well" I guess the verdict is that the Hokas are good/great/wonderful?

    1. They certainly didn't do any harm