async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Recovery--it's more than just rest

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recovery--it's more than just rest


I'm really pleased with my marathon recovery. Certainly, I didn't expect to be running as well or as much as I have been able to after the marathon. When I ran my last marathon, I was hurting so badly after that I wasn't able to run for several weeks. That was my expectation after this one--I thought maybe I'd have to take at least a week off. But I was able to run an easy 4 just 2 days later. I read that lack of soreness and an easy recovery is proof of a good training plan. So I've been pretty happy about all that. I'm done racing for the year, and plan to spend the rest of fall and winter rebuilding and letting my legs recover from all the running I did this summer.

But imagine my surprise when I see what some of my friends are doing! One of my fellow facebookers ran a PR at a half marathon just a week after her blazing fast marathon. Three of my local peeps are running a 50k this weekend--just 3 weeks after the marathon. I guess you could look at the marathon as a training run for an ultra. Another facebook friend ran a marathon this past weekend and is planning another just 3 weeks from now.



I understand the motivation to keep moving. After all, training for a marathon gives a runner a high level of fitness which is hard to sacrifice! Especially after running a strong marathon, I certainly don't relish the idea of losing speed and strength. But running experts all agree that it is important to give your body time to adequately recover after running such a grueling distance. Without adequate recovery, you are more prone to injury and illness. Running hard and long causes temporary skeletal muscle damage. Studies of runners post marathon have shown the presence of myoglobin in the bloodstream for several days. Have you heard of rhabdomyolysis? This is the breakdown of muscle products after muscle damage from injury or extreme exercise which can lead to kidney damage and other problems. Crossfitters and other high intensity exercisers can experience this too.

Research studies also show that immune function can be impaired after an endurance event. Knowing this, I postponed my flu vaccine until this week, 2 weeks after the marathon. I wasn't worried about contracting the flu, as we all know that is impossible following a flu shot. I was worried about having a poor response to the shot and being inadequately protected for the upcoming flu season. I have been diligent about getting plenty of rest and washing my hands like I have OCD in order to prevent getting sick.


Most experts recommend doing a "reverse taper", which is somewhat like what I did following Chicago. In other words, look at the miles you did for your taper weeks and rebuild back up. I felt good enough to do some easy running 2 days after the marathon, and that's what I did.  I still feel good but I'm starting to notice a little bit more slowing. That's to be expected but is a little tough on the ego!

*****************************************

Another part of recovery, but no less important, is rearranging priorities. Things that I put on the back burner, so to speak, have been pushed forward again. Work has been putting pressure on me to pick up extra hours at a clinic that is short staffed. I've reluctantly offered some hours on my day off. My husband and I have been planning some home renovations, on which we are moving forward (slowly). I need to complete some continuing education hours--I haven't started that but will over the weekend.


The most important issue concerns my oldest son, whose struggles I have written about before. While I never put aside my concerns, I kept hoping that he would turn things around with a little nudging from us. Actually, more than nudging, we have been pushing him, but he continues to struggle. I had stupidly, naively hoped that by training for another marathon that I was setting an example of going after a big goal, training for it, and reaping the benefits. But he wasn't impressed. Not at all. Now that I no longer have that big race ahead of me, I have come to the realization that we need some professional help with him. Making the decision to get help for him was really painful for me, and will most likely continue to cause grief as we move forward. But I need to work on this as hard as I trained for that marathon.

Recovery has so many facets. Many of which have nothing to do with running. But running will get me through this too.

30 comments :

  1. I'm sorry he continues to struggle. I think professional help is so wise. On the marathon recovery front, in my experience, I was SO much more sore after my first (I remember writhing in pain in bed that night and having to get up to take Tylenol) than any subsequent ones. The body truly does adapt. Ramping back up quickly is a double edged sword. You have the endurance of a marathon under your belt (I set a 3 minute half PR 6 days post marathon) but on the other hand your body is definitely still in recovery (I blew up my ITB stupidly ramping up too quickly after my first marathon). One really needs to listen to the body and take overall distance experience into consideration,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been interesting following everyone's journeys on facebook. I guess I'm just old school--and think that maybe one marathon per year is plenty.

      Delete
  2. I'll be honest--it kind of drives me nuts when I see people pushing the envelope post marathon. It is sooo important to recover for real. You may feel like a million bucks post marathon, but it doesn't mean you are recovered. I think post marathon is the absolute most vulnerable time for any runner--gotta rest and I'm glad you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I feel the same way. I haven't run a lot of marathons but I've been a runner forever, and I am very aware of the benefits of recovery. It's been interesting to watch other peoples' journeys. Social media has made this a whole new phenomenon for me!

      Delete
  3. I have teenage sons and can certainly sympathize. Getting help is a very smart decision. Recovery is probably the most important aspect of running yet no one really wants to do it, including me. But I do make myself from time to time! You should enjoy your easy runs even if you feel you are slowing...you earned it...and you will be back to racing soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, recovery is as important as training. I want to be fresh and fast for my March half that I've signed up for!

      Delete
  4. It's been a little over a week for me. I have to say I feel pretty good. The minimal soreness didn't come the day after but a few days later. And even then it wasn't bad. And unlike you, I attribute it more to my streaking. Yours was because of your training. I am still trying to take my runs easy as I know it's the only way to truly recover. I am only considering another race soon because hubby wants to do one. It will only be for fun and nothing more. Maybe a half. Then full.
    You shouldn't feel bad for making your training and marathon a priority. You have to know that his decisions are his and nothing you could have done would have changed that. With regard to the professional help I think it's a great idea. Speaking from experience though, it's hard to say how he'll respond. If he's resistant and feels backed into a corner his only way out may be for him to lie to the therapist which won't help him. Either way, you have to know that you're doing all you can to help him. Good luck and big hugs. You have my number :)❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are amazing and I'm glad to call you a friend. <3

      BTW, what full do you think you'll do next?

      Delete
  5. I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments, Wendy! You had a phenomenal race and you've had to deal with a lot along the way; I can only imagine what you are going through with your son, but from what you've said previously I know this can only provide you with some additional support to do what may be best for his future. I'm glad to hear that you are trying to recover appropriately; I think it's easy to want to keep going but, as you've said, it's important to take the time to let your body do what it needs to do to heal. Great post! I always appreciate your contributions and honesty; I'll be thinking about you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Tara! So many facets to recovery, aren't there? I can't wait to see how you do at your marathon!

      Delete
  6. You are setting a great example on how to properly recover. And for your son even though he doesn't seem to care. Bravo to you and your family for reaching out for help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Angela. It's almost as hard to recover properly as it is to train. I just want to run, I just need to run but I know I have to take it easy so I can hopefully avoid injury.

      Delete
  7. Glad to see you are resting and taking your recovery seriously. Sorry to hear that your son is still having issues. Sending good thoughts your way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to do it right...I've been injured too many times to risk it. Plus I need my running right now.

      Delete
  8. Glad to hear you've been doing well physically after the marathon, but I'm really sorry to hear that you're continuing to struggle with your son. I hope the professional you choose is able to get through to him. Best of luck to your entire family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Hopefully she can get to the bottom of his issues. It's bigger than me...

      Delete
  9. I can relate...on so many levels. The teen years suck...and not just for the teens, but their entire family. Our oldest daughter went through a tough time her sophomore and part of her junior year. Thankfully, the issues we had with her were not anything major, but still took us by surprise. It was difficult being the "parents" and not her "best friends," but everything came full circle & we had a happy ending. And, my recovery...ugh!! Two short & easy miles tonight were everything but short & easy. I ask you, how can 2 miles hurt more than 26.2? Apparently, I'm not as recovered as I think LOL I have a 13.1 in 10 days...then I enter my off-season ;-) Hugs to you <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kim. I keep hoping that this will pass with my son, but I'm not so sure.

      You should be fine on the half...I ran 10 last weekend, which was fine except NOW I'm exhausted. So I imagine that's how it will go for you. Perfect timing on all of it.

      Delete
  10. Congrats on a great recovery! I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago and enjoyed the time for rest and recovery, and thankfully my training made the process pretty painless! I can't imagine doing so much after a marathon...it's important to let your body recharge. I'm also sorry to hear about your son's troubles. It is probably tough on your pride, but hopefully a professional will help turn things around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Yep, I could only hide in my running for so long. Time to tackle life now.

      Delete
  11. I'm sorry your son is still struggling, and I hope the professional help is useful and gets through to him. As a mom, do you have a gut feel for what is going on with him - why he is so unhappy? My kids are still little (10, 8, 6) so I have no experience with the mysterious ways of teenagers :) Regarding your recovery, it's so awesome that you are feeling so good afterwards! I am in awe, truly. 26.2 miles is a LONG way. I read recently that Meb said he couldn't walk properly for two weeks after Boston.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know what's going on...I have some ideas but since he won't open up to me...hopefully he'll talk to a professional.

      Good training made my recovery go well.

      Delete
  12. Glad to hear that your recover is going well. After completing MCM on Sunday I have been in recovery as well. Feeling much better now and going to start preparing for my next marathon in Vegas Nov 16. -L

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe you are doing another marathon!!! Can't wait to hear about it!

      Delete
  13. Ugh! Bummer about the more work hours! I am excited to hear about the house renos though. And best of luck with the help for your son - he will be happy down the road that you did this for him!

    When I first started running marathons I would rest after... but the more I run, the faster I seem to recover, so I don't really rest like that anymore. But I go slow slow slow, so maybe that helps :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what everyone tells me...you run long slow distances, and no problems. It's that speed that kills!

      Delete
  14. While my legs are ready to run, my brain isn't yet, but it's getting there! So sorry to hear that you are still having problems with your son. I'm sure it was hard to ask for professional help, but a good thing that you did. I really hope that you are able to get your family back to the normal that you are looking for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We go this week--I'm not really optimistic. Personally, I think it's a phase but my partners are telling me otherwise. Regardless, I'm tired of the attitude. We'll see.

      Delete
  15. Taking part in marathons is a great idea to be physically fit and running also remove the stress from your mind.

    Good Sleep

    ReplyDelete