Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Aftermath

I am sure I had seen several photographers on the marathon course, so I’m a bit surprised there are only shots from two different locations, and one of them is the finish, without showing the actual finish line (they keep doing that, and I think it’s just daft). I don’t think I’ll be spending money on any of those pictures.

As far as recovery goes, I can’t believe how well I’m feeling. On Sunday I spent several hours mowing the grass in the garden, which was probably the best thing to do. On Monday Niamh offered to give me a lift to work, which I refused. I didn’t want to be at the end of dozens of “are you too tired to cycle” jokes. In actual fact, cycling was easy. My legs were hardly sore. That said, my calves are still tender to the touch. There’s definitely a leftover from the violent cramps in there. Last night I tried to use The Stick, but gave up soon. It was painful and I was worried I might do more harm than good.

I even took my new bike out for a spin the other day, and again the legs didn’t feel particularly tired. As a result, I went for a short 5-mile run this morning where I discovered that, ok, there is some soreness left, but considering that this was 3 days after a marathon, especially a hilly one, I’m feeling unbelievably good. I guess the high mileage from the training is coming through here.

Of course I have been thinking about the race, but there isn’t much analysis to be done. I think I pretty much hit the sweet spot as far as sustainable marathon effort was concerned. At least I would have, hadn’t they put a massive mountain in front of us at the end. I think on a normal marathon route I might have had a shot at a new PR, but not a sub-3 marathon. The hills did invariably cost some time, especially if you spend some time lying on the road screaming instead of running. Ahem.

Scientists still don’t know what causes a cramp and I don’t know either, but I’m pretty sure on Saturday it was a combination of several things. It was definitely related to the effort, because when I finally relented and slowed down I didn’t have any more problems. The gradient of the road was also a factor because I felt more and more comfortable as the road levelled out at the bottom of the hill. I don’t think I was dehydrated. I drank at every water station, every 3 miles, and at one stage I even felt some water sloshing around in my stomach. Electrolytes are another possibility. Interestingly, I kept cramping one a few occasions on Saturday evening, including my shoulder when I lifted my arm. I have been fine since Sunday, though.

I think I might follow Paula Radcliffe and purchase some compression socks. Maybe it would help, maybe not. The other thing to consider are Nuuun tablets. They don't cost the world, and if electrolytes are the issue they might just do the trick. I think both things are worth trying.

I’ll let you in on my plans in my next post.
15 Sep
5 miles, 41:06, 8:13 pace, HR 137


  1. I still need that address:)

    Future plans eh, I'm curious. Regardless of what you do, it's going to be fun following your footsteps.

    Make sure you take a proper amount of time to ease back into running. There is no need to rush, at least I don't think there is. All the best.

  2. While the photos mightn't include the "money shot" they're actually really nice photos - OK, exclude the ones with the cones (cones annoy me in photos!). Some of the ones that are provided after races can be awful, with no quality control done on them, but marathon-photo.com really seem to only post decent pictures.

    By the way, well done on the race. Enjoy the recovery, as Michael says, ease back into things. Fitness doesn't disappear in a week.

  3. You clearly gave it your best effort Thomas, which is no small feat in an event as tough as the marathon. If your arm was cramping later in the day it would seem to me to be an electrolyte issue, especially if you drank a good amount of water (which as you know can draw out some of the mineral content you have on board when you start.

    I hope the recovery keeps going well, and again well done on the race.

  4. no fear of you getting lost or run over (while cramping on the ground) with the singlet!! :)

  5. As the father of twins and a Man City supporter I salute you

    Good time - how can you be rubbish - quick get trading standards

    I ran Dingle Marathon as well

    just pleased (and proud) to have finished


  6. Mike is onto it. On a hot day (22C?) you lose a lot of salt - you see it dried on your shorts.

    The trouble with most electrolyte drinks is they don't have enough salt. They make them sweet and palatable so kids will buy them. Make your own drink or add salt. Also, when hydrating with water pre-race, you can dilute the salt already in your system.

    Re the forward plans... you can run sub-3, but maybe don't waste your time on tough or bad-weather marathons - that's putting 3 months of preparation down the drain. Find a flat/cool marathon (Rotterdam or Berlin maybe). You don't want to be spending the next 5 years (like a club-mate of mine) chasing sub-3 on hard courses.