7 Tips For Marathon Recovery

The searches that lead people to my blog usually entertain me.   Sometimes they actually make me think of blog post ideas.  Today someone searched “Marathon running and barley beer drinking recovery” and found MY blog.  Well all right.  That gives me fuel for my topic du jour.

7 Tips on Recovering From A Marathon*

  1. Drink Adult Beverages.  Drink beer.  Or red wine.  Or any adult beverage of your choice.  Repeat.  Multiple times daily.  For several weeks.  Does this really speed recovery? Honestly, I don’t know.  But during 16+ weeks of marathon training, you are working your body hard and oftentimes depriving it of adult beverages (i.e. going to bed early on Friday night and skipping Happy Hour, so you can wake up at 5:00 a.m. to run for 3+ hours in a row).  So while imbibing in excessive adult beverages might not speed up your recovery (and may actually hinder recovery), it gives you something else that is much needed for recovery:  Fun!
  2. Eat Crappy Food.  Consume excessive amounts of sweets, fried food, hamburgers (preferably with bacon and peanut butter – yum!) and, of course, handfuls of Dove chocolate.  Does this fuel your body and repair muscles?  Probably not, but it tastes SO good!
  3. Sleep.  If you did a 16 week training cycle you just did 112 days of early morning wake up calls (if you are an early morning runner, like me) to get your runs in before work/life.  Your body needs some extra zzzz’s to repair/recover.  Plus, if you are following marathon recovery tip #1, you likely have a headache and so could use the extra shuteye. 🙂
  4. Don’t Run for 1 Week.  This is just my personal rule of thumb.  After my first few marathons, where I jumped back into running too early, I realized that I need one full week off of running.  It gives me the mental and physical break that my body needs.  And it leaves me itching to get back out there and lace up my shoes (particularly because I need to burn off calories from marathon recovery tips #1 and #2!)
  5. Get a massage.  From a professional who knows what they are doing, not from your spouse.  I’m usually too sore to do this within the first 4 days post marathon, but it’s a good way to distract me from wanting to run on day 5 or 6 post marathon.
  6. Sign up for another marathon.  Seriously.  I have found that for all 10 of the marathons I’ve run, the best way to recover from the post-marathon blues is to start plotting my next marathon and training cycle.  In fact, I’m usually plotting the next marathon within hours of crossing the finish line!
  7. Shop.  For purses.  For jackets.  For jeans.  For cute tops.  For anything pink.  I know – you are thinking “How could this possibly help marathon recovery?”  Take it from me, a seasoned veteran of both marathoning and shopping, it helps. 🙂

*Legal Disclaimer, since I AM a lawyer: The tips here are not scientifically based, nor are they medical (or legal) advice.  Consult with your own doctor or lawyer before relying on any of these tips.

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Running Away From Me

Marathon recovery week, #1

  • M: rest
  • T: rest
  • W: bike 8 easy miles (no falls!)
  • Th: rest
  • F: pilates
  • Sa: pilates
  • Su: 5.2 miles (9:09)

My first run back yesterday was the best first post-marathon run ever.  No creakiness or soreness.  Right towards the end of my run my right hammy felt a little tired.  But no worries.

I normally love running because it is my me time and gives me a chance to slow down my thoughts, process them and figure things out.  I don’t ever run with music because I like sorting through the thoughts in my head.

This morning’s run was different for me.   In a good way.  Strange to describe, but this morning’s run was all about me running away from me and my own thoughts.  And it worked.  For 53 minutes I stopped thinking and processing.  And it was exactly what I needed.

 

The Truth About Post Marathon Recovery

Here is how I recover for one week post marathon:  I eat like shit – loads of crappy food and tons of treats.  I drink too much red wine and too much beer.   I stay up late (drinking and eating).  I (try to) sleep in.  I might do a little bit of cross training or pilates, if I feel like it.  But I do zero running.  ZERO.

Why?  I’m a firm believer in taking a break from the rigors of training.  Physically and mentally.  It’s necessary to keep the body and mind healthy and fresh and interested in training.

All of this stuff – eating, drinking, not having a training schedule – sounds really great in theory.

But here is the truth:  I hate post-marathon recovery week.  I miss running.  I miss having a schedule.  I miss training.

Here’s to hoping that this week goes by fast.

Training for Wine Country (and Twin Cities recovery)

I am, apparently, very lazy disciplined when it comes to recovery and taking time off of running, post-marathon.

Recovery from Twin Cities Marthon PR/BQ, week #1:

Miles run:  ZERO

Cross-training:  power-walked 3 days (i.e. at a pace that got me breathing heavy, not a walking-Norah kind of stroll)

Although, I did walk Norah every day too.

Yes, I’m cute.  I know.

 Days I drank beer at lunch.  On work days. :   2

 Days I drank beer:  7

 Blizzards consumed:  2

 Here’s what the week looked like:

  • M: rest/eat/drink
  • T: rest/eat/drink
  • W: rest/eat/drink
  • Th: 3 mile power walk/eat/drink
  • F: rest/eat/drink
  • Sa: 3 mile power walk/eat/drink
  • Su: pilates; 5 mile power walk/eat/drink
This week I plan on start training for our upcoming trip to Sonoma.
With training for three marathons this year, I’ve really let my wine consumption tolerance lapse.  Must build it up quickly so that I can sample tons-o-wine in Wine Country next week!

Exciting news to come:  I am THIS CLOSE to deciding on a spring marathon.  I think I found a good one!  Stay tuned.

I’m out of control!

I’m taking my own marathon recovery advice a bit too seriously.

I’m on Day #3 of ZERO physical activity or stretching or anything remotely resembling exercise.

I’m on Day #3 of crazy-out-of-control eating.  I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but yesterday I ate:

Caribou Muffin

Applebees (cheeseburger, fries and a beer)

Dairy Queen (reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard)

AND

Buffalo Wild Wings (wings and beer and onion rings) 

Yes, you read that right.  That was all in one day!  And in between those things I snacked on clif bars and potato chips.  And my beer at Applebees was at lunch.  On a work day.  I am crazy and out of control!  Today was a tiny bit better, but not much.

The weird thing is that usually by this time I’m missing running and wanting to get in some type of exercise (and I actually am doing cross training by now typically).  But I have been so insanely busy with work and life that I haven’t even had time to think about missing exercise.

Tomorrow I’m gonna get a walk in in the morning.  Only so I can make room for more Dairy Queen blizzards.

All in the name of recovery, right?

ZZZZ’s improve athletic recovery and performance!

Sleep is on my mind today!  Why?

  • Carter wasn’t feeling good last night so he went to bed at 6:00 and he just now woke up – 14 hours later!  Guess his body was telling him he needed some sleep!
  • I “slept in” til 6:00 today (went to bed at 9:00!), so got almost 9 hours of sleep (my internal alarm always wakes me up at 4:12 a.m; my internal snooze button then wakes me up at 4:44 a.m. if I don’t drag my butt out of bed at 4:12!)
  • Coach sent us an email earlier this week about the importance of getting enough rest, not just in terms of rest days from running, but in terms of SLEEP.  His words of wisdom were along the lines of:  life craziness prevents us from getting enough sleep, which translates into a bad workout the next day, which starts F’ing with the mind (my words, not his; I like the F-bomb), which eventually then negatively affects race performance.  He also cited an article from a recent Bicyling magazine article that said not enough sleep can lead to an 8 percent decline in Vo2max, a 14 percent reduction in anaerobic power and an increase in heart rate and lactic acid (according to James B Maas, PHD and Rebecca Robbins, authors of “Sleep for Success”).
  • I did some internet research and found a bunch of resources which basically confirmed sleep improves athletic performance and recovery.  Recovery is improved because sleep is a significant stimulator of growth hormone release (the body’s natural agent for cell growth and reproduction).  The growth hormone increases muscle mass AND also stimulates the immune system.  Sleep deprivation raises levels of the stress hormone Cortisol which may interfere with tissue repair and growth.
  • Most nights I get between 6.5 – 7 hours of sleep (I’m asleep by 9:00/9:30 and up at 4:00/4:30).  A couple days a week I “sleep in” til 6:00, and get about 8 hours of sleep.  I wish I could figure out a way to get 8 hours of sleep every night!  If only this job thing didn’t interfere with my running and sleeping!
  • I need to remember this stuff about the importance of sleep and embrace the extra hours of sleep I’ll be able to get during taper (when I’m not up early for workouts).  Usually during taper I go crazy not working out.  Now I can tell myself the extra sleep during taper is just as important as working out.  Hopefully my running twin Kristy is getting lots of sleep this week leading up to what is certain to be a kick-butt performance that will get her a BQ during the Lehigh Valley Marathon on 9/11!

 

Winsor, Walking & Wine, oh my!

Today’s schedule said, “Rest.  No Running. Active Recovery Optional (Hike, Bike, Walk, Stretch, etc.)”

I understand the whole active recovery concept, but it’s hard for me not to do slow recovery runs.  But, I’m gonna trust in the plan/coach and do what I’m told.

So I started the day off with some Winsor ( pilates – buns & thighs edition)

Followed up with 60 minutes (4.25 miles) of walking on the trail in 84 degrees and sun (got my sweat on!):

And tonight I will continue my active recovery with some red wine, because I’m meeting my Girls 10 group for dinner at Crave and I’m sure the Run Club folks want me to have a healthy heart.  And if it’s one thing me and the girls do well, it’s drink wine!*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we sampled all those wines on our Girls Trip to San Ynez wine country (and that was just at the 1st of 4 vineyards!).  And no, we aren’t too proud to drink wine out of plastic cups when we need to.

* Though in light of coach’s email about tomorrow’s 5:30 a.m. run, I’m not gonna have 3 glasses of wine like this picture on our Girls Trip in Seattle last year!  The email:  Monday workout, tempo run you will love me for this one.  Actually it’s a hard ass 2.8 mile run with a warmup and cool down.  I’m going to run you out to my favorite course and make you bust it out as fast as you can then run back to the club.

Kicking off the 4th!

Norah’s been with us a year now in June!

My 4th of July weekend will be filled with a bunch of roasted marshmallows and s’mores!


My baby turned 12 this week!

Just some random pictures to start your 4th of July weekend off.  We’re heading to the North Shore for family fun, hiking, s’mores and running in cooler weather.  Today it was 83 degrees and ultra soupy when I stepped outside for 3 recovery miles.  Nothing like soupy weather to force a recovery pace.  My average pace was 10:19 and that was as fast as I could move!

I’m back!

That was a long week of eating, drinking and no fitnessing!  It was necessary, but I am SO READY to be done with it.  I can’t believe that there are people who live like that all the time.  I felt so OFF all week.

The good news:  I walked 5 miles yesterday (2.5 miles in morning, 2.5 miles in the afternoon) and ran 35 minutes (probably 3.5 miles, I didn’t have garmin) today AND FELT GREAT!  No IT band issues (knocking on wood right now).  No post-marathon soreness issues.  Legs were a bit heavy, but that is to be expected.  Lungs actually didn’t feel too bad – I thought taking a week completely off would make me lose aerobic capacity.  I guess the real test will be when I try speedy stuff (not this week).

Plan for this week will be all easy running and biking.  Might mix in some pilates too.

It feels SO good to be running again!

 

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