Monday, December 14, 2009

More on Recovery

First, I updated my title picture with a finish line shot from CIM. I just received the picture in the mail and it seemed appropriate to put up for my blog header. Here is the full shot.

Secondly, I have been keeping my readers posted on the race results for Sergio Reyes. He ran at the Club Cross Country National Championships this weekend and placed 21st (results here). I think he was burned out after Chicago. His team, Asics Aggies, finished 4th. See video here (you can hear people cheering for Sergio!).

The Footlocker National High School Cross Country Championships was also this weekend. The boys race was won by a sophomore for the first time in 31 years. His name is Lukas Verzbicas and he won the race by nearly 15 seconds, the third largest margin in Footlocker history.
If you did not see the finish of the girls Footlocker Nationals this weekend you MUST check it out here. It was the closest margin of victory in the race's 31 years.

Finally, I promised my readers some information on proper marathon recovery so here it goes. Many of you may have heard of the 1 day recovery for every mile raced rule. This actually holds true for most people. A month recovery after a marathon gives the body enough time to fully return to a homeostasis. This recovery doesn't mean no running, it just means no hard workouts and a gradual progression of mileage back to an average week. Everyone responds differently to the effects of a marathon, so I cannot tell you how many days you should take off or how much mileage to start with, but it should be easy initially (2 minutes/mi slower than marathon pace), and it should be a fraction of what you are used to. My rule is if I am still limping around when walking I am probably not ready to run yet. It took me five days to feel ready to run and when I did I was only able to make it 3 miles. I was limited by calf stiffness and a little knee pain. Could I have gone longer? Yes. Should I have gone longer? Probably not. I had planned on running this past Sunday but I was out late the night before and the weather in Vegas was nasty in the morning.
You must listen to your body. I find that after about half of this "recovery period" most runners are feeling pretty good. This means one week after a half marathon or two weeks after a full marathon. At this time you could certainly increase your mileage but should avoid the urge to increase the intensity. If you do you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Eating healthy, getting good sleep, and doing all those other little things like ice baths also help with recovery.
These first 4 weeks after a marathon are a great time to do some cross training, especially swimming and biking. You will be able to exercise longer without the recurring tightness and stiffness running can cause. You should run as the slow running will help increase blood flow to the same muscles to aid in healing without causing extra damage. After the 4 week recovery a return to tempo runs and/or track workouts is appropriate as long as there is no sharp pain or change in stride or form.

So here are the take home points:
1. One day of recovery for every mile raced.
2. Increase mileage slowly before ever increasing intensity.
3. Slow easy running will help the healing process.
4. Recovery is a great time to cross train.
5. Listen to your body. If it hurts don't do it.
6. Increase workout intensity once a week after the recovery period.
7. Eat healthy and get good sleep.
8. Ice bath, Ice bath, Ice bath

McMillan had a good article on marathon recovery in Running Times recently. If I can find it I will post it.

Speaking of Running Times, I had written a letter (email) to the editor last month in response to the last article in the November issue titled "Upping the Ante." In the article the author discusses the idea of increasing race entry fees to more popular or high profile races like Chicago and New York and making registration dates closer to race days. His reasoning was to avoid an early sell out and decrease the number of no-shows to the event. He seemed to be partially playing devil's advocate, but also bringing up some possible changes to race management as our sport grows. He compared raising entry fees to ticket prices at a baseball game. I had never written into a magazine before but for some reason felt the need to do so. Clay and I received our Jan/Feb issues in the mail today and when I got mine I quickly flipped through it but did not have time to read more than the title of Greg McMillan's article. At lunch Clay came to me and asked, "Did you read your new Running Times?" I told him I didn't have a chance yet and that is when he told me that my letter was published in the letters to the editor. Here is a scan of the letter.


DCHS XC said...

Good Picture! Recovery article is good stuff probably should send it to Bob.

Chuck said...

Fantastic post! Your new title picture is great! I am so glad that I was also in that race, it gives be a much better appreciation for what a great race you ran!

If Lukas Verzbicas stays healthy he could break most of the high school records. Listening to the interviews with him, he really seems to be focused and has very high goals for himself! He looks like the real deal!

Your information on post marathon recovery is excellent. I have read it at least a dozen times. This is a part of my marathon training that I am especially bad with.

I am so pleased to see that Running Times Magazine choose to publish your letter. It is nice to see them recognize your running knowledge and excellent writing skills! I personally like Running Times much more then Runner's World. Their magazine seems to be written for the more serious runner.

Keith Stone said...

Kevin Searls is giving the Sergio commentary at the start, the "crowd" yelling for Sergio is pretty much me and Searls, but hey, Sergio deserves it.

Anonymous said...

I set your new picture as my background - NICE! Liked your letter to the editor. Mom