Sunday, June 11, 2017

Recovery Shortfall

I used to have recovery from those training marathons dialled in to a T. Five miles a day to start with, listening to the body, then increase the mileage to 8 when it feels right and after a week or so I'd be fresh as rain again.

Whatever happened in the meantime, something has gotten out of whack. The move to Dublin has thrown a few challenges my way and I just don't have the 5 mile route through the woods to Ard-na-Sidhe any more, though I don't think that's the main issue. I suspect I'm still feeling the after-effects of my overtraining from last year, and the one thing that seems to be affected more than anything else is recovery.

It may be age catching up with me as well of course, I'm not far off 50, which doesn't help. But somehow I seem to have lost that fine tuned sense of what I can do after a marathon and still recover.

Initially, recovery started out pretty well.Until Wednesday I was very pleased with how things went. Thursday morning was the first wobble but all was good again in the evening. By Friday, however, the legs seem to have suffered a bad setback. Maybe they didn't like the fact that I ran twice on Thursday. Driving back home to Kerry that evening was rather uncomfortable once more (not as bad as last week, though).

In Cork I had felt the need to strengthen the legs, and the way to do that is to run up long steep hills. I do have some hills in Dublin, the mountains aren't that far off Stillorgan, but as I was in Kerry anyway I headed up on the far more familiar route to Windy Gap. It was a rather stormy day and the legs weren't in best shape, so I took it very, very easy. Of course, taking it easy is a relative term when you're running up a 20% slope on a stony track. The original idea was to drop down to Glenbeigh and tackle the Gap a second time but with my compromised legs I figured I had pushed my luck more than was advisable as it was and headed back home after just one climb.

Why did I run up a mountain when the legs wee already tired? I have found in the past that while hill running feels very tough when you're doing it, it seems to take much less out of the legs than a comparable effort on a road run; recovery has always been very swift, so I figured I could risk it. In fact, I was toying with the idea of heading up for a second time on Sunday morning but then the legs didn't feel quite right and I settled for a very easy jog along the lake instead.

The legs aren't feeling particularly great but the numbers since Cork are actually encouraging. The HR has seen a remarkable drop for any given effort, finally picking up again after sliding backwards since the end of April. Unfortunately, Belfast is only 3 weeks away, which will be too soon for me, but it is what it is.

9 Jun
8 miles, 1:07:40, 8:26 pace, HR 139
10 Jun
10.7 miles, 1:41:43, 9:30 pace, HR 143
   Windy Gap
11 Jun
8 miles, 1:07:56, 8:28 pace, HR 133


  1. Belfast is a target race? Marathon?
    Longer recovery times is something I've noticed about aging. Pretty much run 2 easy days between harder days now, sometimes that isn't enough.

  2. My honest opinion is you are digging that hole again Thomas, why the hell you did that hill workout and what i consider a heavy week post a full hard martahon i do not know, also do not underestimate the travel aspect now re Dublin etc, its a new dynamic for you as a worker and harder for sure, ask yourself the question when is the last time you went into a race truly fresh? it's been a long while I think, i say cut back big time and give Belfast a lash as is, just my advice Thomas and you know a long term supporter.