Monday, November 28, 2011

Recovery and What's Next

I spent last week doing a whole lot of nothing and recovering from the Philadelphia Marathon.  In one of the better decisions I have ever made, I decided to take the whole week off from work, even though I would only be out of town Thursday and Friday.  It might be a Thanksgiving tradition I need to repeat, marathon or no marathon.
My quads were incredibly sore after the race.  I went to the gym on Monday and Tuesday to ride the stationary bike and hopefully get some of that lactic acid moving.  I also attempted to use my foam roller but that ended after about two minutes and lots of pain.  By Wednesday I was able to get on the elliptical for a short stint and and finally by Thursday I was able to walk down the two flights of stairs to exit my apartment without thinking about it.  Victory!  I had no turkey trot scheduled because I’d be in the car Thursday morning, but I think it would have been a generally bad idea if I’d been available.  I was in no shape to run.  I finally went for an easy run on Sunday morning and though I felt decent while I was out, it completely exhausted me and I spent the rest of the day on the couch.
I had planned for this to be a short recovery period with a quick return to running because my next big race is less than 6 weeks away.  And not just any race, the Goofy Challenge.  Obviously this “adventure” is not at all about time and just about finishing, so back when I registered in March (for both Philly and Goofy) I figured all I needed to do was maintain my fitness level during December and I’d be fine.  I had great success last fall doing the Baltimore and Rehoboth Beach marathons 8 weeks apart (a 15 minute PR at Rehoboth) and thought I might as well do something similar this year. 
Unfortunately, after Sunday’s semi-successful run, I felt less than motivated to jump back into a regular schedule this week.  Apparently I am much more motivated to train for a second race when the first one is a disaster.  Last year I couldn’t stop thinking about redeeming myself and proving that Baltimore was a fluke and jumped right back into training.  I also think that I came out of Baltimore with legs that were in pretty decent shape because of the large amount of walking that I did in the second half. 
Obviously the circumstances are different this year.  Philly was a highly successful race and it took a lot out of me.  It also was nowhere near the race I was planning back when I registered in April.  I was going to shoot for 4:30 and follow a training plan with a number of double long run weekends all fall.  I saw Philly more as a step along the way to Goofy instead of a goal race.  Obviously that all changed when I joined CAR, started regular speed work and decided to go for sub 4:00.  I don’t regret any of those decisions (AT ALL), but it makes for a bit more complicated “inter-race” period.
So, where do I go from here?  I’m hoping with another semi-recovery week this week, I’ll be excited to get going again next week.  And, if I’m not, I’m just going to force myself to get it done for the next five weeks.  It would be different if I was looking at full season or long training cycle, but since it's not, this seems to be the time to push through the lack of motivation.  I already plan to take most or all of January off after the races.  I purposely haven’t signed up for any spring races even though I’ve wanted to as friends have discussed spring plans.  As much as it kills me (hello, National Marathon or Half) I KNOW that those decisions are best made post-Goofy because I have no idea how I’m going to feel.  So there will be no pressure or reason to do anything until I am absolutely feeling motivated to do so.  This alone should get me through December. 

I’m also not planning on any super serious training.  Just enough to get me to the finish lines uninjured.  And, more importantly, with legs that can still walk around Disney World on Monday January 9.  I’ll share my tentative schedule once I’ve mapped it out, which will hopefully be sometime later this week or early next week.


Victoria (The District Chocoholic) said...

I'm glad your almost fully recovered, though I do think it makes sense that after a faster/more intense marathon, it's going to take longer.

Also, you missed the most important recovery step: find a cute guy to spend 15 minutes massaging each of your calves to get rid of the knots.

Jon said...

"Philly was a highly successful race and it took a lot out of me. It also was nowhere near the race I was planning back when I registered in April. I was going to shoot for 4:30 and follow a training plan with a number of double long run weekends all fall."

^^THIS! And you wound up with a 4:01. So awesome!

Beth said...

I wouldn't worry about it too much. You are still in GREAT shape, your legs and motivation just aren't 100% recovered from the marathon yet. FYI, I ran my trail 50k 5 weeks after the Eugene Marathon this year. I didn't run AT ALL for two weeks, then ran 2 10 milers and a 5 miler, then the race. It worked! :)

Seriously, ease back in, do a few double digit long runs when you feel like it and spend some time in the pool to keep up the aerobic base. You will be totally fine and have a lot of fun at Goofy!

Anonymous said...

Your running fitness won't just disappear overnight :)

And I like that your goal for Goofy is more based around being able to enjoy the weekend (Disney, for godssake!) than destroying your legs again. You're going to have a blast!

Katie said...

I agree with the commenters. Your fitness won't expire. I wouldn't even worry about speedwork, I'd just make sure to get a couple of decent length LRs in and you'll be fine. Get in miles, but easy.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you that it is so much easier to train and do a second when the first is a "failure." After my first marathon I doubled back and did another one month later and PRed by 8 minutes. This year I tried to do something similar after my PR in Iceland, but it wasn't the same. I ended up running about 7 minutes slower than my PR.

Congrats on your great time in Philly!

Liz said...

You're in awesome shape. Another week off or two to recover won't hurt you. But it would hurt you mentally to push through when you aren't recovered yet.

SeRUNity NOW said...

Kudos to you for being smart about your recovery! You will be great! I will be in Florida, but just for the half. Maybe I will run into you there. Good luck with the rest of your training!

amy said...

Everyone above is right and said what I would say. Should have done my blog reading earlier today.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Amy that everyone already said what I would say, especially Beth. You dont need to do much to maintain what you have. Focus on 100% recovery and you will do awesome a Goofy!