April 11, 2014

Friday Five: Shamrock Recovery

If you've been paying attention to the blog and our Twitter accounts, you've probably realized that I've been struggling to recover after the Shamrock half marathon.  I've never struggled to recover from a race like this.  At times, I've felt like my body has betrayed me as if to say "Ha, I gave you one fast half marathon and now you're donezo!"  My recovery runs have been pretty challenging, even if I was in it mentally. 

I know that part of it is my fall and winter marathon cycles followed up by very aggressive training for my spring half.  Deep down, I know my body is tired, but I've had a hard time getting comfortable with that fact.  And somehow, I can't help but wonder if this is just a small vision of what getting older will be like in terms of recovery. 

I was bound to turn a corner eventually.  After volunteering at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler (more on that experience in an upcoming post) and getting to spend some time with the elite athletes, my interest in training and running was renewed.  I drove home from DC on Sunday vowing to find my groove this week.  And guess what? I did!  So let's look at the 5 key factors that have played a role in my Shamrock recovery, both good and bad.

1. Post-Race Fueling: I didn't do anything right.  I only ate a banana, bag of pretzels and a sugar cookie in the 4 hours that I spent at the post-race party after I finished my race.  Oh, and I had 3 beers.  Mmm beer.  And then I came home, crashed on the couch and ordered takeout Mexican food.  It wasn't exactly the picture of the appropriate post-race refueling and hydration.

2. Knee Care: When I'm on a training plan, I'm usually very diligent about taking good care of my left knee, aka the bum knee.  I remember icing my knee from the couch after the race but I've basically ignored it for the last few weeks.  With my new Dr. Cool wrap, I've been icing more, but I've been lax on stretching and foam rolling, which typically help.

3. Inappropriate Paces: I didn't adjust my pace after Shamrock.  It wasn't necessarily conscious, but I kept running (or attempting to run) at the same paces I ran while in the midst of my training, which brings me to item 4....

4. Running Slow: I turned the corner this week and that's because I started running slow!  By now, you think I'm a Mensa candidate right?  Yea, I know...  When I hit the treadmill on Monday night, I decided to try a descending run, but started at 10mm pace.  It's the slowest I've run since Dopey.  Pretty crazy but as I ticked off 4.5 miles, I slowly increased my speed each mile, but kept all 4 miles over 9:10 pace.  And it worked!

5. Embrace the lazefest: While I'm eager to get back to training, I've really enjoyed my lazefest.  Yes, that's the nickname I've given this time.  I've spent many evenings after work with friends at happy hours or enjoying indulgent dinners.  I've gained a few pounds and that's ok.  I know I'll be back to training before I know it and evenings with friends are a real treasure.

How do you recover after a tough training cycle?

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. Sorry to hear that your recovery after shamrock isn't going like you hoped. I recovered quite well surprisingly. However, a few days ago I ran 13 with a friend that is much faster than I am, and have been sore since. I took some time off and have been icing my knee and foam rolling. That seems to help. I am wearig my compression socks to work this week and packed "the stick" with me(since foam roller won't fit in my bag). Goodluck on your recovery. Get better soon!

  2. Unfortunately I am still trying to recover from GSC. I think i'm almost there though! Have a great weekend and do something fun! -M

  3. Great tips for recovery! I am glad you were able to find your running mojo again this weekend!

  4. I'm so happy you found your groove again. It can be so tough post-race to do what you need to do. I have struggled post CUCB this week, and my body has been so tired.

    Great tips!

  5. These are all great tips, Christine. I have run once since Sunday's CUCB and boy was my body not happy. Mentally, I was ready to get back out there but physically my body wanted more rest time. Its often a difficult balance to find between the two.

  6. I'm still having trouble getting my head around a "training cycle". I have this broken idea that I should be getting faster and running more every week. I already know that I'm going to have trouble backing it down after I finish this cycle. Luckily, with the new book Run Faster, Run Less that ya'll recommended to me, it helps push the idea of a goal race with recovery afterwards and starting back at the bottom of a new training cycle afterwards. Good luck on your recovery, enjoy your lazefest! :)

  7. I make sure to get in the POOL if I can and be sure to ask friends to join me to go to yoga ! Rest up girlie! xo

  8. I recover by doing absolutely nothing!

  9. Ha! I participate in Lazefests more than training. I need to change that. ;)

    I don't necessarily think you've turned a corner age-wise where you don't recover as fast, I think it's highly possible that you worked your butt off for weeks and you're body is just taking more time to get back into a groove. Regardless, you're a rock star!

  10. Glad you've got your groove back! I find that I need to run slower after a race too. But it's hard to do! I want to keep at the pace I was running before. But I know my legs need that recovery time.

  11. I'm looking for something for my knee too.. Does the wrap stay on?

  12. I want to take the term lazefest and use it - thanks for the new word! It is SO hard to get back into the groove after a big race!