Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rethinking Recovery

Week one of my recovery plan is now complete.  It did not go well.  Running feels like (and is!) a slow shuffle even if I only go a couple miles.

After feeling worse each day, I realized I needed to do more research on recovery.  I thought that a week off followed by a week of easy would be fine.   Apparently, I was wrong. 

A Google search led me to this document by Gale Bernhardt: "Recovery After Racing", found on

In this document, Gale lists the recovery time for triathlon as being 3-5 days per hour of racing.  Wow!  Given my 7+ hour race, that means I need to be in recovery mode for 21-35 days!  No wonder I don't quite feel up to snuff. 

I also found another document to support Gale's suggestion of 3-5 days off per hour of racing.'s document, "Post Ironman Race Recovery!", suggests that the typical age-grouper needs 6-8 weeks of recovery following a full Ironman before resuming their regular training schedule.  Cut that in half (my race was a half-Ironman distance) and it matches up perfectly with the number of recovery days suggested by Gale.  

So, I am backing off for a few weeks.  I will no longer be following the Hal Higdon Post-marathon plan that I had originally planned to use.  These next few weeks will have no more than 2 easy runs per week.  In addition to that, I plan to swim at least once per week, do yoga 2-3 times per week, and try to use my foam roller at least every other day.  I also plan to walk every day as a means to fill the time slot formerly occupied by training and to stave off boredom.  Liam and I may take out the mountain bike and child trailer to toodle around the neighborhood, but the road bike will probably remain in the garage for the time being.  In a couple weeks, I will reevaluate how I am feeling and go from there. 

The hardest part of being your own coach is being objective.  Did I know that the crappy runs early in the week meant that I should have backed off?  Yep.  Did I back off? Nope.  I completed my workouts as written, rather than listening to my body or evaluating my performance.  I wouldn't push another athlete like that.  Why do I think I am any different? 

Are you your own coach?  What methods do you use to evaluate your own performance?  Are you able to remain objective?

1 comment:

  1. I think as an athlete, we get so used to pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones and ignoring those little aches and pains that to heed them during recovery feels like wussing out. I definitely think you're smart to spend more time recovering - look at it as a chance to do all those things you don't have time for when training hard! That sounds pretty darn good to me right now... only 3 weeks until my oly and then I'm dialing it down a bit.