Recovery Is Taking Longer Than It Should

[caption id="attachment_9169" align="alignright" width="275"]recovery - rocky raccoon - trail running - triathlon Source: Ben Greenfield Fitness[/caption] Recovery is something that I talk a lot about on this blog, "Facebook, Twitter and in person.  I made it through a few years of strenuous training and racing without any injuries.  I took the proper time to recover, the refueling within 30 minutes to 2 hours post workout and got the sleep I needed to keep the body in a state that was ready to perform the next day.  Recovery, at the end of the day, is as important as those 3x1 mile repeats you are doing to help build endurance and strength. So, as the training for Rocky Raccoon 50 has kicked in I have noticed that it is taking me longer than normal to recover.  I know it is not because I am out of shape since I rode hundreds of miles on my bike in September and October.  My running has been limited because of the amount of cycling but again my endurance fitness is not far off from being in peak shape.  My off-season weight is right where it needs to be so while I am carrying more weight than my racing weight I am not unfit at the moment. What could be the cause of this slow recovery?  Jeff and I were texting each other earlier in the week and he and Dave have been having the same issues.  Running a decent pace in Z1 or Z2 is there and nobody is slow but we are not tearing up the track either.  We are all maintaining a nice balance between heart rate and pace but the legs feel trashed.  I ran 14 miles last Sunday in a zone just barely out of Zone 1.  I felt great the entire run and couldn't believe I was done when I got back to my front door.  That entire day though my legs felt like lead.  Walking up the stairs was a chore.  I took a normal post long-day routine of swimming.  Monday I went to the pool but did not swim hard but managed a nice 2500y set.  I got on the trainer on Monday evening and just spun and my hear rate barely made it above 100 bpm.  Tuesday's 5 miler was going to be easy, until it wasn't.  I actually looked down at my legs about 0.5 miles into the run and thought......what is wrong with you?  Oh, no big deal it is just a 5 miler.  Tuesday morning hit and out I went and again......WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LEGS?  They hurt and when I got home I actually stayed on the first floor for about an hour before even thinking of walking up the stairs. Wednesday was the mid-week long run.  8 miles. I was not happy about this run.  I decided to skip it in the morning and do it in the afternoon in anticipation of a few extra hours of recovery plus the additional sleep.  Out the door I went and I felt great.  Holy cow look at me go.  Damn these legs were made for moving.  I got through a bit more than 8 miles in 1:11 and with a negative split (8:55, 8:43, 8:48, 8:47,8:28, 8:30, 8:38, 8:50).  In my head I was thinking:  YEAH BABY! Then I walked into the house and suddenly my legs felt like lead.  Where or where did the life go?  Shot, shot, shot. In reviewing what I have been doing and talking to Jeff a number of different reasons could be why the recovery is taking longer than it should:
  1. Running a lot more than I had been.  This week I am already passed 23 miles and have been running everyday outside of one day.
  2. The weather here in Texas has taken a drastic turn.  A week ago I was running in 60-70 degree weather and this week each run has been in the 30s.
  3. No water and no electrolytes.  I ran the 14 miler without a single drop of water (insert idiot jokes here) nor electrolytes.  I am still sweating regardless of the temperature.  I took advantage of Thanksgiving sales and purchased tube upon tube of Nuun.
  4. I am doing quite a bit of hill work and need to spread it out more.  Instead of everyday of going hard up hills alter the route I take to avoid those hills (like this morning) as best I can.
By recognizing what has happened and what I can adjust I think that the recovery process will still be a chore for the next week or two because this weekend will be 15 and 12 miles of running on back to back days.  That Sunday run will be a slog I am sure, but the body needs to adjust and get accustomed to the high volume running the same way it got accustomed to the high volume swimming. I have also added my typical recovery shakes back into the daily evening regiment of recovery.  I use  2 scoops Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength, 1 scoop Herbalife Cookies N' Cream with 16 oz of water and 16oz of ice.   Or for a variety I add in 2 Tbsp nut butter in place of the Cookies N Cream but I am being more cognizant of drinking these in the evening to aid in my recovery. I also called my chiropractor to schedule some ART and a massage on Thursdays.  Thursday afternoon I will be going in for ART and Thursday evening going back for a massage.  Lastly, I am also trying to get in bed by 9pm so that I can get 7 hours of sleep before the 4:30a wake up call.

Have You Seen A Change In Your Recovery Lately?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.