In his latest podcast, Steve Runner notes that recovery following a marathon should be mostly made up of rest. The human body isn't supposed to run that far, after all, and needs extensive recovery. He says that studies show that taking 7 to 10 days off completely from running is beneficial to recovery and results in no loss of conditioning. This makes some sense, since conditioning changes take two weeks or so to appear after hard workouts anyway; it stands to reason it would take a similar length of time before conditioning begins to let go.
Though I ran only the half-marathon, my body reacted badly. It is becoming evident, too, that my post-race routine is not optimal for ensuring the quickest recovery and I shall have to refine what I do post-race. For instance, I should lay off the heavy stretching and concentrate on getting fifteen to twenty minutes of brisk walking in before really stopping. As well, when the legs hurt like they did, ice would have been a stunningly good idea; but I wasn't thinking clearly.
Having heard Steve's words, I felt better about not having run at all this week. I couldn't have before Wednesday sheerly for pain, but the soreness in all but a few tendons had disappeared by Thursday afternoon.
So it was with great desire but no little trepidation that I stepped out today for some exercise. First I walked to the other side of Greenwood Cemetary to (at long last) pick up my motorcycle from the dealer. (While Roxie still needs some work, at least she's running and running well. Sounds good, too. I have a lot of electrical & cosmetic work to accomplish before the LRLR charity ride in July.)
After that, I got home and changed into running clothes. Today I'd be trying out the moisture wicking boxer briefs I picked up at the Nashville expo. (I also finally found my fav pair of running socks; cool beans.) I decided to extend my five-mile out-and-back route and just go OUT - this time all the way to the Verazzano Bridge.
This is what I'm calling my new Bay 5-Miler route, as it keeps the water in sight almost the whole way - the first half between warehouses as I run along the quiet 1st avenue and the second half right along the water past Bay Ridge. End up at the base commisary.
The first couple miles were tough. My shoes - I'd finally put on the 992s I'm trying to break in - didn't feel right and I was getting sore very quickly. The 992s and I came to an understanding finally after I stopped to re-lace them. I loosened up down near the toes and tightened up a little bit higher on the arch and that felt pretty good. Still, for the first two and a half miles, I dealt with sore feet and shin splints. Right around the point I approached the Brooklyn Terminal, the pain started to ease up. I took another stretch break and then my legs really got into the swing of things. After that, there was no more walking except when my coughing shut me down. (Every time I cough, all my muscles tense up - this is not helpful in the legs.)
Running along the little path (which is being renewed!) along the bay is really something. The wind is constant, though not strong - just enough today to keep me from feeling to hot, as it evaporated my sweat nicely. The Verazzano feels close at first glimpse and it's still two miles away! Flat, fast, soft asphalt, clean winds and sunny skies: could there be better running conditions? The blazing international orange colored container ship in the bay was so bright my eyes hurt from it, even with the shades on and I couldn't help but smile at the thought that some crew on those ships have been known to stay in shape by running laps of the deck - 1/4-mile circumference or longer.
My stomach began to hurt somewhere along there and I noticed I was really going through my HEED. Usually a bottle would last nine miles or so, but I was somewhere around four and almost out. Once again, a warm day and dehydration and whatnot was playing with me.
I finished up this first recovery run by conquering the lone hill on the route and running all the way to the base commisary's parking lot. I walked for a few minutes outside, did some light stretching then went inside to shop. I right away grabbed an ice-cold water and downed about 1/3 of it. I also noticed these Powerbar Proteinx2 things that were on sale for 89 cents. I ate & drank those on the way home and immediately felt better. The Powerbar was good enough that I went across to the gas station where they have a bin of nearly-expired energy bars and dug out all 8 of the kind I'd just had - all at half price. Not a bad deal.
A good run, altogether, though the first two miles were dreadful. It gets easier, of course, over the years - knowing that the first two to three miles are almost ALWAYS a bitch; but that on good runs, it does get easier, smoother, rhythmic.
By the way, I'd like to plug the Coverville podcast again. I'm really enjoying what they come up with. Many of the covers are of very old tunes and some are of re-genred modern tunes. Even old people would like this broadcast. ;)
Also, congrats to Beast who ran a Boston-qualifying time in last weekend's New Jersey Marathon. Rest up that hamstring, buddy.