After a marathon the first question most people will get are how are your legs? I too ask that question. Typically you get replies such as “they are tired”, “not too bad”, “surprisingly well”. For me this recovery week has been great, my legs feel good after a few days focusing on using the Trigger Point Grid, Compex Fitness Trainer Muscle Stimulator, and my normal visit to my acupuncturist. During this week I have even kept my running streak alive, running everyday since December 10, 2012. Unlike the previous 14 weeks of the marathon training, my recovery week just has me running. That means no set distance, no set time, and no set pace. Recovery is about just getting out there and moving get the heart pumping, the blood moving through the legs and the lungs getting some outside air.
|Compex Muscle Stimulator|
After a few days of my recovery runs, I realized that this recovery week might be more than just recovering physically. I think this week has provided me much needed recovery and rest mentally and emotionally. The 14 weeks of training going into the Asics LA Marathon was scheduled to be my toughest training cycle I have ever faced in preparing for my 12th marathon. It was physically demanding, I logged 1032.61 miles during the training period. I had a 100 mile week in there, back to back long runs, tempo runs that felt like my legs were going to fall off and moments where my body was just flat out tired.
However, during this time I invested much of my training into the mental and emotional as well. Mentally I became more confident in my ability, I have never been so confident to do so well going into any other marathon I have ever ran. As my mental strength created for my confidence the week going into the race, I also had moments where I doubted myself. Can I really do this? Is this goal realistic? With all this work, I hope I don’t get hurt in the final week. All these mind games started to come into play.
|At the Asics LA Marathon|
Then there was the emotional investment into training over the 14 weeks. Hitting the runner’s high at times, where I felt like I was floating through my workouts, where there was no care in the world except getting my shoes on my feet. Other days, it was stressful trying to get figure out do I have enough time to get out and put in a certain run on any given day. All of these stressful running moments coupled with the natural stresses of life. Then as marathon day started to come closer, the happiness of the race finally started approaching. Being so invested into a particular goal time (3:05), and breaking down at the end when crossing a 3:11:54. The moment the emotional investment finally caught up to me within seconds after crossing the finish line.
After the marathon, I think it is a given that each runner will have some sort of tired legs and needs time to recover from the physically demanding stress we put on our body. However, after this past marathon training cycle, I have a greater appreciation of a recovery week for the mental and emotional side of training and racing. Just getting out and running without worrying about pace, time and distance, no intervals, no tempos and no must do long runs, is all glorious.
What do you do to recover from a marathon? Any techniques that you can share?