Linking up with with Amanda today for:
- Why have any variety in my posts… let’s start it off with another shameless plug….Please vote for me for the Runners World magazine cover!
- I made my first Acai bowl (as seen in my WIAW post) and I am totally obsessed. I want one for every meal. #NotTheWorstThing
- One of the articles on Runners World home page lists the “Bucket List: 10 Big City Marathons”. I’ve completed 3 (Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago), and I will complete NYC this year (I’m already at 40% woot!). I hope to run LA in the near future, but only time will tell : ) . The others listed in the article seem exciting for their own reasons, but don’t necessarily top my priority list. I’m working on a post that focuses on my running and “other” goals for the next few years.
Now it’s time to get deep. Often times I wonder when running too much is too much. Every person has a different threshold of endurance. Some people can run 20 miles a week comfortably. Other people find themselves suffering from overuse injuries once they peak over 40 miles per week. And then a rare breed can run 100+ miles a week, totally unfazed, completely healthy, and race marathons every other (if not every) weekend.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I wish I was one of those people. Now granted, most people who are running 100+ miles a week do not have full time jobs or other obligations outside of training. But some do. And I wish that was me. But it’s not.
In all honesty, I don’t think I’m recovered from Boston.
That is really hard for me to say. Like I had mentioned before, I found myself in a continual training cycle from May 2014 through April 2015. I felt healthy, strong, and rested for 90% of it. I started to get tired towards the peak of my Boston training (65 miles/week). I ran Boston well, and finished injury free. The next morning I woke up stiff, but not in pain, and I felt refreshed. I supposed as refreshed as you can be after running 26.2, or 26.4 miles, in my case.
Still today, I’m sore. I had my first sports massage last weekend and my hamstrings and hip flexors are still contracted despite me stretching and foam rolling every night. I think that by looking back at my recovery, post Boston and 9 months of focused training, caused me to realize a few important aspects that will help aid my recovery in the future.
I had the week after Boston to rest. I promised myself to be smart about recovery. I caught up on sleep. I took a week off of running. But did not totally rest. That Wednesday (read after ONE full rest day), I went to SoulCycle. And I spun for 60 minutes every day during my week of “rest”. Looking back, I didn’t really rest at all. Sure I wasn’t running, and yes I wasn’t putting any impact on my joints, but my legs just carried me across pavement for 3+ hours. Why did I think it was okay to go fatigue those same muscles but just in a different way?
I ate like total shit. Seriously. I never have much of an appetite post race, but come Tuesday I started to eat anything and everything in sight. #AllTheCarbs. The justification of “well I ran a marathon” is great, but not when you’re still using that excuse 6 days later. 2600 calories is 2600 calories. I should have been refueling with 2600 calories of nutrient dense foods. Not 2600 (and definitely more) calories of pizza, frozen yogurt, and candy. I was not providing my body the necessary nutrients to repair muscle damage post race. And that was dumb. #FacePalm.
One part of recovery which I have read mixed reviews on, is the consumption of anti-inflammatories/NSAIDs pre/during/post race. I do not like taking them. Ever. Not only do I have difficulty with my GI when I do, but I also like being aware of how my body is feeling. Sure excess inflammation is not good, but I like to know when my body hurts. In my eyes, to mask that inflammation to receive relief so one can exercise/push on further is not a benefit but rather a risk. However, I KNOW my hamstrings were inflamed. It felt like I had two balloons in the belly of each of them. I should’ve taken an anti-inflammatory to help decrease my inflammation and allow my hamstrings and other corresponding muscles recover more efficiently.
Why do I think I’m still not recovered? My prolonged muscle fatigue and soreness. Have I had decent runs at a decent pace in the last two weeks? Sure. Do I find myself taking longer to recover between those runs? Absolutely.
But the most obvious reason I KNOW I’m not recovered, is that I started showing signs of a mini Crohn’s flare. I went to the doctor last Friday to receive a Remicade injection. Not only was I anemic, but my blood work indicated malabsorption. So you know all those really unhealthy foods I’d be indulging in – any nutrient that they MAY HAVE HAD – I wasn’t getting.
I needed to be smarter about my recovery. And to run and race the way I want, I need to be. I trained so hard for so long, that I almost don’t remember what it’s like to run casually.
The past two weeks, my body was so run down. I felt so sick from my Crohns’ing (totally not a word but go with it..) that I physically couldn’t drag myself out the door to run. I wouldn’t say Crohn’s is a blessing, but in this case, I think it was the obvious sign (i.e. smack in the face) I needed to realize I had to change my recovery process.
This past week, I’ve been running more frequently than I had been. I’ve run every day since Sunday and I’m feeling okay. I had an impromptu tempo run last night at run club, and a longer SLOW SLOW SLOW recovery run this morning. It’s going to take some serious discipline on my part not to push things. I have run the past three days. I plan on cross training today and Friday, with longer easy/slow paced runs both Saturday and Sunday. I should end with roughly 40 miles this week.
Some people can push through recovery, and keep on keepin’ on. I’m not one of those people. I’m glad I took the rest I needed, albeit a little delayed, and I think I have almost gotten my groove back.
I’m looking forward to running easy for the next couple of weeks. I’m competitive by nature, but I finally realized, for me to keep competing, I need to take a step back every now and then. And give my body what it really needs.
Do you have trouble taking rest when you need it?
What’s the first sign/symptom you get when you start to overtrain? I usually get calf and plantar stiffness or IT band tightness
Favorite cross training exercise? SoulCycle… but I need to pick up on more strength training