10 weeks to go - Recovery
4 runs this week totalling 66k. Long run just over 31k (19 miles). Cold and a little damp. My preferred route along the Thames path saw a slightly higher tide than usual and perhaps against my better judgement I ended up wading through ice cold water up to my mid thigh just before Kew Bridge. I thought the tide was turning but when I returned through the same spot an hour later the water was a little higher - nice. On the plus side I managed to convince 3 other runners to follow me. It did get me thinking about ice baths, after the numbness subsided the legs felt strong and refreshed...but I don't think I will make a habit of it just yet.
Following the Paris marathon experience I had plans to do more miles, more intervals, longer tempos. However, late last year and I'm not sure how it happened but I turned 40. I hate using age as an excuse but I tried a week of doing more and it pretty much wiped me out. No issues with the legs or any specific muscles but was just shattered. Time for a rethink on the training. It highlights the importance that needs to be placed on each session.
In terms of recovery there are many different methods to enhance and speed it up. I am working through a few suggestions to see what works for me.
Extensive repetitions: At the end of a hard session 4-6 x 200m at 10k pace (approx 45-50 seconds with 1 minutes recovery). This seems to have made a big difference to post run soreness and recovery.
Ice bath: the evidence for it is good. But practically I'm not that keen after a cold run
Elevation: Can eliminate any swelling that can occur, especially after longer runs
Taking a nap: great if you ever get the opportunity, not too practical
Compression socks/clothing: limited evidence regarding performance but better regarding recovery
Nutrition: Eating a small high carb/protein snack soon after finishing the run can promote muscle repair
Walking bare feet: not aware of the research but supposed to restore foot structure following a run and feels good
Cross training: Swimming and Cycling helps loosen muscles up without putting the same demands on them as running
Stretching: Despite telling people to do certain stretches on a daily basis (and always with a strengthening exercise) Stretching is not something I do regularly unless I have a specific muscle tightness / weakness or injury. There is no evidence to support the use of stretching as a means of recovery or to improve post treatment muscles soreness.
Sports massage/sports physio: The muscles are being well used and there will certainly be a lot of tightness in key areas. Sometimes stretching doesn't actually stretch the tight spots. This is where sports physio or sports massage can get stuck in and release off the tight structures that stretching doesn't reach.