If there is one thing I might have taken for granted or just not done properly in the past…it’s taken recovery time. No runner likes time off. I have yet to meet one who actually does proper recovery after hard efforts or distance races.
I actually did this time.
Some of it might have been forced. After all…thanks to the petri dish of germs that is Disney (especially on Marathon Weekend), I came down with the Disney Flu. Yay. And no, this doesn’t come with fun Mickey Ears and character experiences. It comes with a big dose of Theraflu and sleep.
I mean…it has been non-stop since I returned from the freezer that was Orlando over Marathon weekend. Coughing. The coughing is the killer. I am finally able to breathe again. Thank you for calming down sinuses. Remember…a co-worker gave me a sinus-only cold before I even left for Dopey. Run all the races. Go to all the parks. Is it any wonder I ended up like this?
Has my recovery been a bit forced? Perhaps. But here’s the thing…
I set a goal this year. A goal of having an injury-free 2018. So when my running coach tells me to rest…dammit…I’m resting. When my mileage is lower than I like it to be…well…so be it. Trust the process, right? I have a few other big goals I’m hoping to reach in the next year or two…so I have to learn to believe in myself…and the method that will help me get there more efficiently than…past attempts.
I admit to, in the past, rushing back into activities. I bounce back quickly. I do. But I also break down too. We all do. We just don’t always like to admit to it.
Here’s the thing…we might feel good…but we put our bodies through a lot and push it to the limit, not just in races…but in training too. Maybe moreso in training…and we’re LESS likely to take recovery/rest days during training. I don’t care what distance you raced…if you raced…RECOVER!! Like…actually recover!! Would I have taken time off if I hadn’t caught the Disney Crud? Yep. I actually would have. Like I said, I have big goals this year and to achieve them, I need to respect my body and learn a little patience.
I mean…granted, I hurt for about 3 days following the Dopey Challenge…but I also pushed through most of the 48.6 (and more) miles that I covered over the course of the weekend. And that’s just running. I still had parks to visit in between. Because, as much as I’d love to lay low…I pay for those Disney tickets and they aren’t cheap. By God, I was going to get my money’s worth. Park hopping…princess hunting…fast passing rides…all of it. I was doing it. And…I did it. All.
But it doesn’t have to be The Dopey Challenge to make taking down time a priority. Any race…any distance…anywhere where you push yourself more or further…do yourself a favor. Take some time off. Depending on the race distance…it could be a week…it could be two…it could be more. Don’t think you HAVE to get to the gym the day after a half marathon or hop on a spin bike or even go for a “recovery run.” Let’s face it…whether you back of the speed or not…a 6 mile run is generally a 6 mile run…”recovery” or not. I listened to a podcast recently from a running coach who said that there was absolutely no such thing as a recovery run. You’re still putting in an effort and working the same muscles that your regular runs do. And most people don’t actually run these that much slower. Your entire body needs to heal up to get stronger…don’t rush the process. You might feel good immediately after the event…but you’ve still put that body through a lot. You might feel good a week after…and you still might need more down time, depending on the distance that you ran.
Remember…there is no such thing as over-training…just under recovery.
RECOVERY…is super important. I have been fortunate enough that my recovery time has fallen when it’s gotten stupid cold outside, with the addition of some ice and snow on the ground. Bonus. I’m always cold…so I hate running in the cold. And I especially hate winter weather running.
In addition, let me be the first to remind you that you should NEVER stop eating properly or regularly despite recovery time. Your body needs all those nutrition benefits, especially as you recover from a hard effort. With the Disney Flu…I have still maintained my regular food times. I mean, I do live on a schedule. What I have done is simply change what I have been eating. Mostly because I can’t taste flavors right now…and just eating food for texture isn’t working for me. So, soup and chili have been my go-tos. But I am making sure I am hitting all my nutrition needs every day. And yes…I’m eating well and I’m definitely eating enough calories each day. Eat well, eat enough, eat healthy. So many people focus on weight and get really crazy with their nutrition. When you’re training, you need to eat. And you need to eat well. When you’re recovering…you also need to eat…and yes…you need to eat well. Now is not the time to cut down on your nutrition. I promise…you aren’t going to get fat.
As I stated, for the past two weeks…all I’ve really wanted it soup. That being said…I love that soup has so many different varieties out there because it keeps it interesting. I’ve been serving mine up with different gluten-free crackers. And sometimes I add avocado or something to bulk it up. I mean…who doesn’t love tomato soup with a grilled (vegan) cheese sandwich? I know my body needs certain things to stay in good shape even when I’m not working out as much. NEVER skimp on nutrition when you are training or recovering.
So…I’m on the mend. I took time off from work to sleep and recovery both before I left for Disney (initial sinus bleh) and then basically all the rest of the week after I got back from Disney. Sleep and rest and proper nutrition have definitely helped me bounce back from not just the races…but the sickness too. My muscles don’t ache anymore (also…thank you Roll Recovery!) because I’ve let them heal and get stronger. I’ve been using my new Roll Recovery R8 and R3…as well as my foam roller. And stretching. Never underestimate the power of stretching. I even went to 2 of my spin classes this past week. I took it easy. I didn’t push as hard as I normally would. And I still felt like it kicked my ass. I’m not mad. I’m taking my time.
That being said…if you thought I was a germophobe before…you should see me now…
Remember, friends…living your best life is all about balance. Find time to rest…recovery…find balance…eat well…play…laugh…and yes…return to that activity you love…once your body is stronger from the respect and rest you allowed it.
I took 2 weeks off…and I still feel I fatigue easily. I’m easing back into with with longer walks and short run segments. And I still feel like I’m a badass. I’m a very smart…totally recovered…less injury-prone badass!!