Post Marathon Blues

Finally, i was able to complete a solid 5km run this morning after a week of lethargy. Compounded by continous runs immediately after my Camsur Marathon, giving no rest a chance, this craziness was finally brought to a stop after a binge of marathon drinking last Sunday to celebrate with my running buddies our respective accomplishments, sharing it with ultra runner Mel Severino who also finished the PAU P2P 50k Ultrarun. The effect: Over fatigued and severe dehydration.

After 5 days of no running, i felt exhillarated just to be able to resume that short and easy 5k run.

With the Camsur Marathon behind me, i felt bound to reflect and regret the post-effects this race has brought to me: Making the mistake of running the same pace and intensity i did during my pre-Camsur preparations when the simplest and most sensible thing to do was to take it easy and rest it out. I just wanted to reassure myself that i’ve recovered and must run continually to maintain my level of fitness for next December’s QCIM, which is 8 weeks from now. Big mistake! I should have listened to friends who advised: “Back off!”

That said, all notions of speed work; intervals, tempo runs are now in the back seat. Hello jogging again!

I’m finally retiring my old, tested and my feet’s best friend, the Saucony Progrid Ride from racing which had served me well over the last 21 months. It has been my racing shoe for most of my races, from the 5k to the marathon.

I’ve re-computed its mileage and didn’t realize that it has logged a total of 880 kms already. I felt its cushioning has waned during the Camsur Marathon, the thread of the outsoles has worned-out and i think it has already exceeded its racing life.

It would now be relegated to my walking jaunts and maybe on very short jogs, as well.

I’ll be re-joining my running buddies this Sunday for a moderate to long run but i doubt i’ll be able to handle any long distance yet. So, i’m backing off a little.

Cheers!

See you on the roads!

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Marathon Recovery: To Run Or Not To Run…?

You have logged hundreds of kilometers of training in the weeks prior to the marathon and by the same token, broke your marathon PR or just successfully completed your first full one in last Sunday’s Milo 42k elimination run. So what’s to do next?

How does one recover? Do we jog easily for a few minutes a day during the week after a marathon or does one rest completely and let the entire body heal by itself?

There are generally two schools of thought regarding how one should recover the week after a marathon. While both have its own merits, it’s still a multi-faceted approach that applies differently for everyone.

PASSIVE RECOVERY APPROACH: The first week should be easy– do nothing. While muscle strength and endurance will drop considerably after what the body has just been put through, the tissues of the body needs time to heal and by resting the body in full, tear and wear in muscle tissue repair themselves. With the right recovery diet and giving the right fuel your body needs, the immune system is recharged, helping the muscle cells recuperate more quickly.

ACTIVE RECOVERY APPROACH: Most would go for a short run. Many experts say a 20 to 30 minute jog a day or every other day provides gentle blood flow to sore areas which helps bring nutrients that heal into the muscles. It also assists in flushing out the waste products and damaged tissues that serves to reduce post-race soreness. Others attest that it’s a major psychological boost to keep moving rather than doing nothing mentally and physically. A satiation to the running addict in us.

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Speaking from personal experience, i’ve tried both approaches but the active recovery approach worked well for me. After my first full marathon (when the first running boom was blooming here in the 80’s), i went for the full rest, passive recovery approach and didn’t run for a full week. During this time, i nursed my aching joints and muscles that left me mentally and physically flat, a bit depressed. When i resumed my running after a week, i still felt sluggish and only got my bearings and felt like a runner again on the 2nd week of recovery.

By contrast, on my 2nd marathon finish and subsequent ones, in opting the active approach, i jogged the day after the marathon itself and did this (with some walking) every other day and fully resting on the other days. After just one week of this activity, i felt light, the muscle soreness were all gone and was ready to resume my regular running again. Many might not want to run (or jog) after a marathon, but short 30 minute jogs and walks on alternate days did the trick for me.

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There are other approaches to marathon recovery but of course, no two runners are the same so the best way to find out what’s best for you is to experiment, take the approach of what best suites you.

Together with re-loading on a balance of carbohydrates and protein foods, frequent massages, restoring your flexibility and mobility by constant stretching and doing cross-training in lieu of running for recovery, the right approach will make you more rested, fit and ready for another cycle of periodization training.

Here’s to a fast recovery!