am) 4 miles. I got my warm-up done for my track workout and the principle came out and kicked us off the track. Sucks, but the guy was doing his job. I appreciate that.
pm) 13 miles. I finished this run in the dark. It's amazing when your sense of sight is taken away from you just how much you can tune in to your body. I couldn't really judge speed except for how my legs felt. According to my legs I was hauling ass the last few miles and it felt good. If I had to guess the pace in the last 3 miles, it was well below 5:50. I did a hill fartlek during the run on a hilly course with hard efforts (~10k) up all the hills. None of them felt strong as I am quite run down and stressed. The hills felt terrible, the flats felt great? I don't think I have been very disciplined with my hydration either. Today is 10 days from the marathon. Plenty of time to get my sh*t together.
10 days is usually a significant time frame for a long race. Research will tell you that it takes ~10 days for most athletes to realize the benefit of a session on their fitness. Meaning that it takes about that long to truly recover from harder training. I have always wondered why this very well known tidbit of information doesn't apply to post race recovery? A lot of respected run coaches will tell you to recover 1 day for every mile raced.. I say bull. First of all, your muscle tissue doesn't know what a mile is. Do the Europeans recovery 42 days after a marathon? Or does European muscle tissue also recognize only miles? One of the better coaches in the world, Luc Van Lirede's coach Jan Olbrecht, will tell you that you can recover most of the damage from a Ironman within 36 hours. This is a bit extreme for a marathon which does incur much more actual tissue damage. If it takes 10 days to recover from a long block of hard training, which in my opinion is far harder than 26 miles of racing, then one can assume that 10 days post marathon would be enough recovery. Diet and active recovery techniques will help speed this along. Large amounts of protein is a good place to start. Glycogen repletion doesn't necessarily need to be the first focus because you aren't going to really need glycogen to perform another workout anytime soon. In periods of focused training adequate glycogen intake is critical because of the need to fuel for the following day. In the days after a marathon muscle tissue repair should be the main focus- protein is key and I would include a Vitamin B12 supplement (or a mega B) with folate. Massage- do it yourself and save a lot of money. Buy a $20 "Stick" on e-bay and you'll be good to go. Massage will loosen the muscles and help to get rid of waste product and adhesions as the tissue heals.
For the first 5 days post marathon- aquajogging or the elliptical trainer for 15:00-40:00 every other day for the first 5 days is all the activity you really need. I will be using the Precor AMT trainer after KC and probably some mountain biking, plus a lot of time in the dry sauna. And if I know myself- I'll also be running. The goal should not be to build fitness in this recovery period but rather to just increase blood flow and keep the muscles loose. I would also recommend not stretching until 100% of the soreness is gone.
If you recover correctly and are patient- you can come out of this 5 days of recovery more fit than you were before the marathon. A large part of how well one recovers is based on how high their mileage was leading up to the race. A runner than can absorb 18 miles every day will of course be less affected by running 26 miles than say- a runner who logs half that mileage. Brad Hudson believes that high mileage prevents injury, and that makes a lot of sense. When you hear an athlete talk of their injury, the story usually starts off with "So I ramped up my mileage last month... and now I have XX injury". You don't, however, hear too frequently a runner say "So I was running 80 miles every week for the last 9 months and all of a sudden I got XX injury". Part of the benefit to high mileage (building gradually to high mileage) is that is prevents breakdown from harder efforts such as workouts and races. Your body adapts to the volume and becomes very durable. Year round moderate volume is a good idea for us all.
The next 5 days you should get back in to running. Keeping every session relaxed and easy with very few- if any- downhills. The effort should really be held back. I've seen quite a few athletes (myself on many occaisions) try to get back in to the hard training too soon after a race and they end up backsliding in their fitness or ending up sore again, which then requires further recovery. This only delays their ability to resume a normal training schedule after 10 days. Patience is key here.