Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Recovering between ultras

Following Sunday's terrifying ordeal/50k PR, it's been really important that I rest up for my next ultra; a 6 hour race which takes place in just 3 days.

How does one recover from a 31 mile race in order to prepare for a (hopefully) equally long race in a week? Well, no one knows. Surprisingly, there's little to no information on the internet about that process. 

Monday, I followed my standard recovery process. I always like to start the day post-race with a bagel. I actually got up half an hour early to walk to the bagel place before work, which is kind of a big deal. Usually, the sleep is the only thing in the whole world that I value more than food (which is why I usually eat my breakfast in approximately 1.5 minutes while checking my work email). But walking does tend to help with muscle soreness, and we are lucky enough to live only a quarter mile from an amazing bagel place. You can trust me when I say that, I'm a huge bagel snob. I don't think I ate a single bagel for like the first four years I lived in Maryland unless I was back home visiting NY. 

I felt good enough on my walk to ride my bike to work, but then things significantly declined. My legs weren't super sore, but I was insanely tired, like the type where if someone paused mid sentence I was afraid I would fall asleep before they continued. Once I was done with work and finished with grad work for the night, Eric and I watched a significant portion of The Office season 5 while I ate three desserts and refused to move. BTW, one of the desserts was my fatty, sugary free birthday Mocha Cookie Crunch Frappuccino and it was all I'd hoped it would be and more.

Tuesday was more of the same, except that I drove to work because I had errands to do afterwards. Except I was too tired to do them so instead I ate cereal for dinner at 4pm and was in bed by 7. I knew that my tiredness had reached a new level because an unprecedented event occurred. I had bought ice cream on my way home from work (yup, I was too lazy to do errands, but not too lazy for that), but I was too tired to eat it. It's still unopened. This is even more shocking when you factor in that I hadn't bought ice cream in months. Not because I'm trying to be healthy or rock a bikini on our upcoming cruise. But because, for reasons I won't get into, our freezer looks like this.

So basically if you need anything frozen you are facing an avalance and are completely screwed.
Today I've felt a tiny bit more normal and managed a 3 mile run and some serious foam rolling, stretching, and compression gear. Plus, I had a little boost when I got home from work. Kari and Kara got me a three month membership to the Dean and DeLuca coffee of the month club, and my first arrival is here! It smelled like pure Heaven.

Kara's actually doing real running in between the races, which is perfect because we'll be able to compare which method is better and finally provide the internet with this valuable information. After Saturday, the world will finally know what to do in between two ultra marathons in the same week!

Feel free to provide advice, regardless if you've ever run an ultra, a race, or a mile. It's a crapshoot at this point.


  1. Haha ice cream (or substitute any delicious sugary dessert) trumps errands even when I haven't run 31 miles. As for advice, I can only reflect back on JFK training and my back to back 40 and 50 miles weekends. I remember being in a sleepy daze the whole week between. It's a miracle I got any homework or work done!

    Rest up and keep foam rolling!

  2. I would probably be following your approach more. Think of how tired you will be next week!

  3. Well, I didn't even cover a marathon at the first event so there is already a hole in our testing protocol!

    Jeff has been pestering me to drink more water. This may be the defining difference between the races and we may have to write up this patented new method.

  4. Whew, you MUST have been tired to turn down ice cream!

    I think your way is probably closer to how I would do it. After my 50k, I didn't actually go on a run for about a week, I think, but I did a lot of cross training. I biked a LOT and did some yoga. I think it really helped to keep my muscles moving, but not necessarily in the same pounding motion that running had.

  5. I do not know how you go to school and work with all the training you do. I was seriously considering napping at work yesterday.

    My thought is cross training is the way to go this week. You want to loosen up your leg muscles but not stress them, so my suggestion is EASY swimming or cycling.

  6. Are you saying bagels from King Soopers aren't up to par? Weird. I can't fathom running one ultra just yet, so running two in 7 days is far beyond the boundaries of my comprehension :)

  7. I saw that Logan commented and got really freaked out thinking it was Logan Miller. That is my only contribution to this post :)

  8. Your freezer looks like you are preparing to be snowed in for months. That is ridiculous. We have ice in our freezer and that's pretty much it.


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