"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Respect the Recovery!

Seven weeks ago today, I returned from Orlando with a medal, several good stories, a big smile and a few sore muscles.  OK, maybe as it relates to the muscles, there were more than a "few," and "sore" is honestly a huge understatement. That said, the key point is that I had completed the race without any long term health concerns.  Of course, climbing the steps was a challenge, and having to stand up from a chair seemed to amuse everyone in the room except me, but in the words of the Eternal Optimist Club President, it was "all good."  That's right, the kind of pain that only comes from gain.  In my mind, I had earned a brief, exercise-free vacation while the soreness moved on, then it would be back to running and a new training plan. 

Well, you might have already guessed it, but my body (particularly my knees) countered the Club President's optimism with a little Lee Corso,  "not so fast my friend."  My body was right.  I, of all people, should not have been surprised.  I had been very careful to follow the advice that others prescribed leading up to the marathon.  I had a training plan and executed it perfectly.  The race strategy was sound and very little occurred that was not in the script.  The results:  No injuries, a better than expected finish time and a wonderful experience.  Now that the race was over, I certainly knew better than those that have been running marathons for several years ....... right?

So, what have a I learned? First, I did wait two weeks before I got back on the treadmill for a few miles.  But it didn't take long for the outside of both knees to let me know something had taken place in the race that had not been present during training.  I waited another week and it seemed to get better, but still flared up.  After five weeks of attempting to put in more than 3 miles without pain, I decided to go where we all go for expert advice in medical science;  Google.  I self-diagnosed my knees with everything from a Stress Fracture to Simple Tendinitis to Patellar Tendinitis to an IT Band issue. 

Long story short, the symptoms and recovery process of the past couple of weeks confirmed that I was suffering from a slight IT Band condition.  Pain on the outside of the knee, hurt as the miles built, went away with a little more rest, some Ibuprofen and daily ice packs.  (In fact, as I write this entry the ice bag is providing a little frozen comfort to these old bones.)  Good news is that I ran 8 on Saturday and 3 today with very little discomfort.  Bad news is that had I gone immediately to applying ice and taking a little Ibuprofen back in January, and waited just a few more days before pounding the pavement, I likely could have started back several weeks ago and dealt with a little less pain. 

Bottom line, the distance, intensity and pace that your body goes through when running a marathon is like nothing you have experienced through training.  The plan for recovery should be every bit as thought out as the plan for actually making it to the finish line.  Many of you warned be about that and I am now a believer.  If you want to learn much more about recovery, including more detail to common post-race injuries and even non-physical aspects of recovery, I found a great article from a Boston Marathoner at the link below.



  1. I love the soreness brought on by the marathon, it makes you feel like you accomplished something. I have noticed that the soreness lessens with each marathon.
    Sorry to hear about your IT band issue, keep up the rehab. I usually only take a few days off from running after a marathon but keep the intensity very low, which isn't hard considering how dead my legs feel. I guess its a good thing I didn't give you any post marathon advice, you could be much worse off right now if I had. In fact, I would have probably told you to jump in a 10k in the next couple weeks following your marathon to take advantage of your marathon fitness and claim a new PR.

  2. Hey Paul, in fact I think you did suggest the 10k while I was still in shape! No worries, I really could have made it much better on myself. I really should have gone to the ice from day one, whether I felt I needed it or not. Also, I started doing some aqua jogging about two weeks ago and it has really helped. Along with swimming a little and some bike work, I"m back to 85% or so. Next time I'll go to the pool within the first week. Thanks for the comments. Will look forward to following you in Louisville.

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