Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday 17 miles.

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.

12 comments:

Wende said...

Tim, not sure how soon after the race you do a dry sauna, but there is one at our Y just up the road. Do you ever use a steam shower?

BRFOOT said...

Are you telling me to get off the coach and go do something?

uli said...

Excellent post Tim.

However, I have to challenge you based on my own experience. I am simply awefully sore after a marathon. I can not even jog three or four days later. My calfs immediately seize up. Cycling is not an issue whatsoever after three days.

But this is where it is at the strangest: it does not matter if I do my first jog after 5, 10 or even 15 days. The result is exactly the same: terribly sore calfs 5-10 mins. into the run.

My long time training mate (a duathlon pro) has the exact same issue. The average Joe approach would be to rest even longer, say 30 days. As the stupid athletes we are, we say "fuck it!" and jog through the pain asap (5-7 days post race). From thereon it improves _significantly_ with every run. And again, it improves at the same speed no matter how many days post race we resumed running.

We are yet to find an explanation for this.

cheers
uli

Lucho said...

Wende- I leave first thing on Sunday morning. Later in the day on Saturday I probably wouldn't want to dry sauna.. The steam showers feel gross to me. Like the hot tub- it seems like a breeding ground for grossness. The dry sauna is hot and dry enough to kill anything. That's all my own issues though.

Yes Brfoot.. but if you're on your coach then that's just weird.

Uli- Do you train frequently in your racing flats? The most common mistake I see with athletes is that they wear low heeled racing flats on race day and they aren't adequately adjusted to the lower heel. This destroys your calves. When I was sponsored by Saucony I requested my entire shoe allotment be racing flats. That's all I ever trained in. This adapted my calves to the lower heel. Another thought- the fact that your first run back, no matter how many days later, causes your calves to seize may be due to a lack of active recovery. Once you damage a muscle there can be scar tissue in the fibers. Massage, quite aggressive
massage, in the days following the marathon could help a lot in breaking this up and preventing that first run from being so painful.
Also, every athlete is different so my post doesn't apply to everyone. Some athletes will need more time to get back to running. I think cycling is a great choice for recovery.

Anonymous- more than you.

BRFOOT said...

it's all in the details....1 little letter and I go from lazy to weird.

Lucho said...

So true... spellcheck doesn't know what you meant to say.. but I did. I think you do need to stay active rather than sit on the couch. Movement will keep the muscles from tightening up and will promote recovery. Even just going grocery shopping and walking around can be considered active recovery.

uli said...

Thanks Tim.
I am a flats guy also so that can not be the issue.
I have done lots of active recovery (cycling) but that did not help it (nor hurt it).
I have not tried massage mainly because I usually do have no need to rush back into training after a marathon and therefore was not keen on spending money on massages.

I am usually telling myself that I can hurt myself worse than most others in a race. :)
Do you know the 90-9-1 rule?
90% underperform in races compared to their training. 9% perform in line with their training. And 1% outperform their training in races.

cheers
uli

jameson said...

great post dude... the more recovery tips the better.

The combo of easy spinning (on the road bike) and time in the sauna has been working great for me. I hit the sauna for 20 minutes (i know still rookie status) with the stick on tuesday and my legs are feeling great right now... it works for sure.

I totally agree on the protein side of things too. I make sure to get my carbs post race, but then really focus on protein for the next couple days.

keep the tips coming!

Lucho said...

Jameson- Ya, the massage in the sauna is excellent for recovery.

Uli- Buy "The Stick".. it's a massage tool that really works well on your legs, particularly your calves and quads. They're ~30$ retail but well worth the money! You could even make one very simply with a visit to the hardware store. You'll never need a professional massage again.
Damn, how do I get in to that 1%? Or even that 9%!?

Brett said...

I have only run more than 30 miles in a week maybe 10 weeks all year. Only over 40 I think 2 or 3 times (when I had an ultra or a marathon).

After finishing a 42k and a 50k I could not walk downstairs or jog for days. In both cases my legs were done miles from the finish but I powered hard through it.

During a 62 mile event I never pushed it hard against pain (I did push, but not hard. I also alternated some time speed walking. The next day I was mowing the yard, and able to jog even.

So if I'm a piece of crap distance runner with these experiences above, I do think Tim is onto something...ok maybe not the shoes, but something is up with what you are wearing or doing.

Tim - a question on pacing. Take a highly aerobically fit person (you) and a relatively average aerobically fit person (me). At constant heart rate, what pace drift downwards might each one of us see during a marathon? Are you a fan of constant target pace as long as possible, or constant effort? Or is there so much grey area this question is impossible to answer?

uli said...

you're on track now. just listen to uli-almighty. ;)

would that also work for the required deep massage?

damn, my next chick is a physiotherapist!

u

Lucho said...

Uli- I can dig pretty deep with the stick but I also use a "sharp" tool that really digs in. I get easily 1 hour per week of massage and it doesn't cost a thing. $$ is the real issue here. I'm not down playing the benefit of professional massage.. but when you're in my tax bracket you make ends meet however you can.