Marathon Training Update and Recovery Question

marathon runner recoveryToday I hit the first real dip in the training for my first marathon.  After doing the longest run of my training so far Saturday morning (9 miles) and then playing soccer for 2 hours Sunday evening, I took yesterday off and planned to increase my two short runs this week from 4.5 miles to 5 miles.  I was really wiped out after soccer and felt fatigued all day yesterday.  When the alarm went off this morning at 5, it was the first time I was really tempted to hit the snooze.  Never the less, I bucked up and hit the road for a 5-miler. 

Despite my fatigue I thought 5 miles would still be relatively easy because last Thursday’s 4.5 miles seemed pretty easy and Saturday’s 9 miles was not terribly bad.  But about 2 miles into the run I knew it was going to be tough.  A short distance later I saw a lawn sprinkler and couldn’t resist stopping for a moment for quick drink and to get some cool water on my head.  A half mile later I really, really just wanted to walk.  I started thinking about the fact that today is the first day of the school year for my two oldest kids and at the rate I was slowing down it would get me off to a late start making breakfast, and so I decided to take a shorter route home cutting the run down to 3.8 miles.

So, after a month of serious training, this was the first run I cut short and the first time I really felt worse than my previous runs.

In retrospect, last Tuesday’s run was somewhat difficult as well.  At the time I chalked that up to starting out too fast, but now I think the bigger issue is that I was still fatigued from the weekend.

What do you do to recover?
So, I’d like to figure out how to recover better from a long run.  Are there any foods or drinks or supplements that can be consumed after a long run to aid the recovery process?  I’m sure getting plenty of sleep is part of it.  What about hot baths, ice, or massages?  That’s what I’m going to focus my research and experimentation for the time being.  If anyone has any advice they can share, I’d appreciate it.

Forum Discussion (added 8/22)
I’ve gotten some great advice when it comes to recovery strategy.  Just about everyone suggested eating (or drinking) a snack with a 4:1 carbs:protein ratio immediately after the long run, carbs to replenish glycogen and protein for muscle repair.  Getting plenty of fluids and rest (naps) is another universal.  I was surprised at how many people suggested cold or ice baths immediately afterwards.   A lot of people also suggested walking later in the day to get the blood flowing.

I’ve been stretching, drinking lots of water, and swimming in my backyard pool after each run, but the water temp is about 90 degrees right now.  Since I’ve been finishing up my long runs around 8 AM, I also eat breafast shortly afterwards but it’s been high in protein – 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, and a couple of waffles or pancakes.  I’m definitely going to try the ice baths and consume more carbs and less protein and fat afterwards.

2 Responses to “Marathon Training Update and Recovery Question”

  1. You should eat something right away – mix of protein and carbs. This speeds recovery – even better than eating an hour later. Also, REST really means REST, try to take it really easy. The soccer may have been too much? especially if this was your longest run ever. If you are sore at all, definitely ICE helps. I can’t believe how much. A hot bath too soon after running will cause you to swell, I’d wait on that one.

    I am doing the book too (see my previous post), and have noticed that I have one good long run, one bad one, and the shorter ones vary. Try to learn something on every one if you can but don’t worry too much. It could have been rest, hydration, needed carbs, humidity, going out too fast, or several other things. (believe me, I’ve had them all happen at least once if not twice!) Also, make sure you follow the “don’t be tempted to ramp up too quickly rule.” I think it is only 10% mileage increases per week?!

    Good luck with your research. I hope this helps a little.


  2. you need food within the first hour after the run. it should be a nice mix of 4 to 1 carb to protien ratio. somewhere around 200 to 300 calories. you could opt for a recovery type drink like Recoverite from Hammer Nutrion. the rest and relax. good luck. later.

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