Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My marathon recovery

In my Paris Marathon write up, I briefly touched on recovery, so let me outline what I usually do these days...and what I've done since I've been back home.

In normal circumstances, I definitely wouldnt be having a beer to celebrate within 10 minutes of finishing a marathon.  Normally my go to is a chocolate milkshake.  In the early days, I was going for specific recovery shakes but I really dont think there is any need.

I'm now buying a tub of Nesquik and making up 250ml with semi skimmed milk.  After longer sessions, I'm drinking around 300-400ml.  The tub is great value and a damn site cheaper than specific recovery shakes and to be honest, I'm getting other essential nutrients from elsewhere in my diet.

Nesquik...the chocolate milkshake of Kings...
Within 10 minutes of being back at the hotel, I was laying in an ice cold bath.  Only the legs mind you.  There's a trick to it.  Fill the bath up a couple of inches.  Lower yourself in, when you get your breath back, turn the cold tap up again and just fill it up until the quads are covered.  Then sit there for as long as you can stand it.  The longer the better.  I'm normally in for 15-20 mins and its enough to take the stinging out of the legs.  If you're brave, chuck in some ice too.  Just remember, the colder the better.

It goes without saying that regular stretching is important whether you've just ran a 5k race or a marathon.  For me, its quads, calves, groin, hamstrings.  They're the four groups I concentrate on, especially the hamstrings since I got a telling off from my physio a few weeks ago.

The last thing is to keep on moving.  Rest is important but the longer you keep them legs still, the more they're going to hurt. Keep the legs warm, keep them moving and keep stretching them.

Sunday the legs were sore.  By Monday they were reasonably ok.

Monday evening I went for a gentle recovery run, just 5k around about marathon pace...


The legs were a little stiff to begin with but by the end of the run, I was feeling a million times better. 

To keep the legs moving the next day, I went for a ride on my road bike. However, I got a little carried away. I'd popped around to see my cycling buddy Rich and he had me on the turbo with a plumb line, looking at my knee alignment with pedals and cleats and we made some adjustments in an attempt to clear up my bike fit issues. It has been pretty obvious that my recent knee issues were caused by my last ride and Rich was keen to look at the bike.

We moved the saddle up and backwards and it appears my legs are now in the correct position.  So the plan was to go out and test the new position and give the legs a stretch. However, it probably wasnt the wisest move to do just under 50 miles on the bike, less than 48 hours after the marathon had finished.

The good news is that Rich really does seem to have cured the knee problem. It was my first ride in over a year where I've not suffered any kind of discomfort in the knees which is absolutely great.

The ride was good. We went out at a leisurely 15.5mph (well it is for us normally) but we got out as far as Higham then when we turned to come back, we hit the head wind. Goodness me, it was strong. That pretty much took every last ounce of energy out of me by 30 miles and the last 15 I was hanging on to Rich's back wheel for dear life to get home in one peace. I cant remember the last time I'd been out on a ride and felt like that but I've got absolutely no doubt that was the after effects of the marathon

You only have to look at my average HR for the ride, averaging Zone 1.0 to know how little effort we put into that ride but I was ruined for energy. I've since been eating carbs like there is no tomorrow.

A day later, Wednesday as I type this, I still feel tired but my legs actually feel like they havent done anything recently.  Proof that my recovery times are excellent nowadays, something that really wasnt the case in previous years.

In future, I will ensure I do ride the bike but nowhere as far as that.

I'm now having a well earned rest.  I've got my daughter Izzy with me for the next 4 days so I wont be doing anything training-wise until she goes home now.

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