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Post-race recovery – don’t rush it

I’ve talked about post-race recovery before, and how important it is not to rush it if we’re to avoid over-training problems.

At the moment, one week on from The Outlaw, my biggest problem is now not to continue to eat huge amounts as if I was still training 20 hours a week…

However, I did go for a walk on Saturday (to and from an excellent beer festival in Brown Candover) and this morning had a very leisurely 30 min swim. Other than that I’ve done very little in the last week other than move around a bit. Tomorrow I’ll cycle the eight mile round trip to pilates and that’ll be a Big Day.

After feeling a bit smug in the first few days because I didn’t have any DOMS or aches or pains, by the end of the week I couldn’t keep my eyes open and my legs generally ached and just felt tired.  All very normal, and a reminder that recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It can take months to recover from an ironman distance race. It can take a month at least to recover from a standalone marathon.

How long it actually takes depends on a multitude of factors – age, stress levels, depth of base fitness, intensity and length of training period included.  For the record, I’m not planning on doing anything remotely like ‘training’ for a couple of months.  Apart from my body needing to replenish everything (apart from its fat stores…) my head needs to recover from the tyranny of the training programme.  If I forced myself to train for anything now a) I’d break physically and b) I’d hate it because I’m a bit over training at the moment, to be honest. But I’ve got a long term plan shaping up nicely so I’m getting excited about being ready to train again. When the time comes.

Anyway – this video by Simon Ward of TheTriathlonCoach.com is a very useful summary of post-race recovery principles.  It’s based around an ironman distance triathlon, but the principles are applicable to any major race including marathons, cross channel swims, multiday events and all the other things my clients love doing.

The main message is Don’t Rush Back. And just because you feel recovered or think you’re recovered, it sadly doesn’t mean you are actually recovered. There’s more to it than that.  But that’s for another post on another day!

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