"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.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Heeding My Own Advice

Recovery week has gone really well over the past few days.  I’ve actually watched the diet and have tried to stay active with walks and stationary bikes. I’m also catching a few extra hours of sleep and relaxing from the intense training of the past several months.  But counter to a sign that I saw along the route last Sunday, I don’t use this stage as the “fat and lazy period.” It’s a time to work back into the running routine and start considering the “what’s next?” question.

As to the running, I learned a lot from my experience in January.  I know that I’m in better shape this time around, however there are still lessons from the post-marathon recovery that I am definitely putting in to action.  In fact, I went back and read through my own advice the day I returned from D.C.  It was written about seven weeks after the Orlando marathon.  (It’s here: Respect the Recovery)  In short, I am applying the following:

  1. Listen to my body.  Right now, everything feels pretty good.  As I start to run again I will pull back on the slightest twinge or tweak in order to get stronger sooner. It’s not worth having to deal with an issue for months, when I can get over it in a week or two. 
  2. Listen to the experts.  The general rule of thumb is that you need to take a day off for each mile of the race that you have just completed before you start back with a regular running schedule.  Three rest days for a 5k, 13 for a half, 26 for a marathon, etc.  This doesn’t mean to avoid cross training or a few “tester” miles here or there, but you will not lose your conditioning by giving your body a break for this amount of time.  Enjoy it. 
  3. Stay motivated.  Take a few weeks to consider the next challenge.  Whether it’s a local race, a destination marathon or some completely different experience all together.  This process will keep you motivated to eat right and continue checking in at the gym.  
There is a ton of information out there on race recovery, check it out and see what works for you.  From nutritional recommendations to stretching to more formal schedules. Of course, don’t forget to reflect on and appreciate the run that you have just completed.  Be grateful for the ability to participate and for those around you that allowed for the time to train.  Make a special effort to recognize those individuals and devote some dedicated time to them during this recovery phase. That is likely the best advice of all. 

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