Recovery: Worse Than Taper

I have been thinking about writing this post since the first day after 70.3 Ironman California.  At first it was going to be a long the lines of enjoying the down time to recover from the race.  Then it was going to be how to recover from the race.  It changed multiple times and I am glad I never wrote it until yesterday morning while sitting on my couch at 4am.  I got up early because Saturday was going to be my first true action back in the training world.

Lots of discussion and pictures of puking this week

The week after the race was a couple of days of doing nothing.  There was a day of riding the spin bike for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I wound up riding for 30+ miles which I always take 10% off because the spin bike can make you look like Lance Armstrong.  One day I went for a 30 minute run and put in 3.6 miles which was awesome.  It felt great to be out there for that, but truth be told recovery week #1 has meant a lot of inactivity.


This recovery has truly been worse than taper.  With taper I was at least active even if it were for shorter time frames.  I could be intense during taper week for 30 minutes and it felt great.  Now I can sit on the spin bike for 1 hour and 30 minutes and sweat profusely and still feel like I did nothing because I was not pushing myself.  Activity to get my legs back?  Yes.  Activity to get my mind back?  No.

My mind has been a wreck this week about getting back out there.  It is fighting itself just about every minute from 3am to 8am.  It is fighting to stay asleep because there is no workout to be done, but it is so used to waking up at that time.  Once awake I think about all the people that are out there training for their next race and I am jealous about it.  I want to be out there, but like a good soldier I follow my Coach’s orders.  She puts together a plan, that is hours and days and weeks in the making.  Who am I to put her hard work in the garbage and not pay attention?  There is a reason I work with a coach so that I don’t have to think about these things and just do them.  So that is what I do.  I read Training Peaks and it says OFF so I do nothing.  It says 30 minute EZ run and that is what I do.

I am coachable in that regard, but I am not a sit back and watch life go by person.  I texted Coach from the transition area and told her that the goal was to run faster after the bike.  That is what I wanted to be a focus.  Who does this?  She told me I was harder on myself than she is on herself and didn’t think that was possible.  This past week I sent a Facebook message to her asking when training picks back up for CapTexTri and Austin 70.3, and oh how are we going to fit in qualifying for Boston.  Who does this?  Who doesn’t want to sit back and enjoy the couch for a week or two?  Me, that’s who (I think I just channeled my inner Dr. Seuss.)

Nothing Like Pushing Yourself

There is nothing like pushing yourself to achieve, and I don’t care what it’s at.  Maybe you want to be faster, or maybe a better parent.  Knowing that your boundaries are only mental is what is great about pushing yourself.  Fight that mental glass ceiling and you will be successful.

It was around Wednesday night or Thursday morning that I came across this article and this article in that discussed recovery.  It was very eye opening because it discussed recovery and planning.  How long to recover and what to eat for recovery.  It helped for about 12 hours.  I said to myself why risk injury?  Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  I have enjoyed those fruits and now I want to get back in the saddle.  I want to feel the open road and the wind in my face.  I want to wear lycra and spandex and not worry about getting laughed at (that was a joke.)

In reality triathlon is a lifestyle that I have chosen and embraced.  It is a part of who I am.  It is a love of my life.  I can’t imagine not having Karen in my life and I feel the same way about SBR.  I need it and have to have it.  Look, there are worse addictions.

Yesterday I finally got my wish.  It was the opportunity to go for a 5 mile walk/run with the participants of Marathon Makeover followed by two hours on the bike.  The pace was leisurely but it was the idea of being on the open road.  Getting back out there.  My schedule next week is a bit more taxing on the body.  I actually get to ride for a while and run too.  Swimming will be out for another week while the tattoo heals but it feels like the training is going to start up again and I am loving it.

Recovery is just as important as taper, but for recovery is 100x worse.

Do you enjoy your recovery phase?  If so, what is your favorite part?  The physical recovery or the mental break from the training?  Which is harder for your?  Taper or Recovery?

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  1. James says:

    No, I don’t like the recovery – I feel broken. But I know that I need to repair so that I can get back on form.

    Paint the house, mow the lawn, plant some trees, spend time with your family – do the things that training takes you away from.
    James recently posted..WIR–April 09- 2011My Profile

  2. Laura says:

    im a newbie triathlete so ive only gone through this process once, for me taper was mentally worse because of the race anxiety to deal with with it being my first tri, all the bottled up energy and nowhere to put it was torture!!!! recovery was tough too because i was mentally ready to get back out there but my body wasnt ready. but you are SO right, i am quickly learning that triathlon is a total lifestyle….and im LOVING it!!!!

  3. I don’t like the recovery part either. It’s nice for a couple of days for me b/c I like not having to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to get a workout in. So, I get to sleep in and rest. But, after awhile, like you, I’m itching to get back out there. It’s definitely a mental battle, but recovery is so important!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..A week in review and other things tooMy Profile

  4. best cartoon ever. i hate recovery but it is a necessary evil.
    i have mental problems though…i fear missing too much training time.
    MilesMusclesMom recently posted..Vela- Velo- Voila! Its a Giveaway!My Profile

  5. MissZippy says:

    Simmer down there! ; )

    Recovery is good..your body will be thankful and so will your mind. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, you would regret it later if you didn’t take the time. Repeat it again: recovery is good!
    MissZippy recently posted..Not always what it seems and winners!My Profile

  6. Michael says:

    I agree with others recovery is good, but it is difficult when you are so used to putting the training in. But focus on something else – read a book about fitness and start thinking about how to get stronger and faster…dedicate your energy toward that and you will be back to training in no time.
    Michael recently posted..Complete RandomnessMy Profile

  7. Marlene says:

    I can definitely see the recovery being difficult to handle, especially for someone who puts so much into his training! Glad you are starting to put some good workouts in again, just listen to your body and have fun!
    Marlene recently posted..Foto Friday- Adventures in MichiganMy Profile

  8. Karyn says:

    i HATE recovery .way worse than taper. i’m exactly like you where my body wakes me up during the time that i would have been training and i just lay there…thinking…it sucks! hopefully you recover quickly
    Karyn recently posted..Life- uh- Finds A WayMy Profile

  9. Kevin says:

    “Who doesn’t want to sit back and enjoy the couch for a week or two?” Answer: Me :)

    I’m with you, the recovery is brutal. Can’t stand it one bit. Taper is almost as bad, but at least you can look to the race in a matter of days.

    When I am recovering, I will usually tackle a big DIY/woodworking project to take up some of my extra time. Not perfect, but it helps a little.
    Kevin recently posted..Wiki Wiki WednesdayMy Profile

  10. Chuck says:

    I like a day off to totally do nothing and chill, but then I’m ready to get back at it!
    Chuck recently posted..Do YouMy Profile

  11. Christel says:

    Couldn’t agree more. If it weren’t for my legs being so sore, I would love to go for a run today – the day after a marathon. This week is going to be brutal…

  12. Mandy says:

    I love the recovery phase – maybe too much! For me if I don’t recover properly, I get injured. But I hear from a lot of people that recovery kills them and they go crazy – me? I enjoy the rest – but I don’t sit around and do nothing – I am an active person anyway – so I guess I do what people call active recovery. It gives me a chance to do stuff outside of SBR, which I really need.
    Mandy recently posted..Outside Ride!My Profile

  13. Michael says:

    I don’t do the recovery phase… I train becuse I like to work out… all this risking injury talk is crap… be smart listen to your body cross train

  14. Jen says:

    It makes total sense why you’re going nuts and why most endurance athletes aren’t big fans of recovery. We are doers. We want to be out there. We need that activity to feel good. Sitting around isn’t part of that plan. Even if it’s the smartest thing to do to prevent injury, it kind of bucks everything we’ve programmed ourselves to do.

    In my case, it gets further complicated by a nagging fear that lost weight will come back and I’m lose my “training” mojo…

    Then, those endorphins are not getting activated, our bodies aren’t moving like they were and I bet there’s that wee bit feeling of post race let-down, almost how you feel after a great vacation. You build and work towards something for so long and then poof — it’s over. I think that’s why so many of us immediately sign up for another race ASAP after racing one. It’s like you need another goal, another finish line to work towards… which really makes one want to skip recovery!

    Congrats on a great race and making it thru recovery :) You’re a champion.
    Jen recently posted..Pain is temporary pride forever – 16 miles!My Profile

  15. Morgan says:

    The post-race blues always hit me hard that first week of recovery, I feel so lost like what am I doing there’s nothing to mark off the calendar, there’s no spreadsheet telling me what to do, which is usually why I try to have another race of any distance planned for about two weeks after so I have something to look forward too and focus on as I get back in to the swing of things post-goal race. Keep it together over there Jason!!!! :)
    Morgan recently posted..The Truth About Being InjuredMy Profile

  16. Emily says:

    as im currently in taper, im going with taper. but i also hate recovery. why can’t we just be in peak shape 365 days a year?

  17. katie says:

    nope, I agree 100% – recovery is ROUGH! taper is ok because there is still a small dose of high energy activity, but recovery, blech. i wish i could just sleep through it all!

  18. Colleen says:

    Recovery is so hard… such a needed thing, but talk about tantrums!!! But you are right… there are way worse things to be addicted to! :) Keep doing what you’re doing… it’s working!

  19. Scott says:

    Recovery is worse, your broken down, body is torn up and wont work like you want it to. Taper is just madness, you know your healthy, you know your strong, your just pissy because you cant show it off.

    I like the old pukie award sign up on this post.

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