Saturday, October 22, 2011

Post Ultramarathon Recovery

There is a rule of thumb among runners: the amount of time it takes to recover from a race is one day for each mile.

I doubt there is any magic to this formula -- someone simply noticed that most people take about two weeks to recover from a half-marathon, and three to four weeks to recover from a marathon.  It's less clear that the rule holds true for either 5K races or 100K races.

Nevertheless, it's nice to remind myself that there is no reason to expect that I should be back to 100% yet.  After four days of serious soreness, I had several days of random aches and in various places -- a foot, a knee, a hip -- that would appear for a day, and then just disappear.  The last couple days, though, I have been feeling great, except for congestion in my lungs that still hasn't cleared up yet.  (That's perfectly normal, since running 50K stresses the lungs a lot more than they are used to.)

I've gone for a few recovery runs since the race, which mostly have consisted of shuffling around the neighborhood.  I've also started a routine of core exercises to help my running while letter my legs recover.  But today, the golden autumn air beckoned and I headed out for my first real run since the race, on my favorite track along the Anacostia River.

Since I last was here, a stretch of trees have been cut down along the water, apparently for some sort of construction project.  For now, though, the clearing provided a scenic view of the lazy river.  Further on, the course took me along the edge of the RFK Stadium parking lot, where families were already starting to tailgate for the final MLS game of the year. The smell of charcoal briquettes and the laughter of kids playing pick-up soccer games made me want to attend a game sometime, too.

As I looped through Kingman Island -- which was empty as always; my own private off-road trail -- my energy started to flag.  I laid off for a half mile, then pushed as hard as I could for the return loop.  Still not 100%, but I'm running again.

Click "view details" for splits and other information.

Related posts:
Race Report: 2011 New River Trail 50k


  1. Glad to hear that you're feeling better! And at a good fast pace too!

    Have you been doing particular activities short of rest to get the leg muscles loosened up and/or energized again? (e.g., icing or stick massaging?) As you know, I really recommend a good stretching regimen, or even some gentle Hatha yoga classes to work out any kinks and sore spots (be sure to avoid "power yoga" or Pilates as these are more cardio/strength classes). I'm not sure i'd be this far along with increasing my running mileage without it!

    And I'd love to catch a football game with y'all. Since RFK is probably out of my price range (and, um, features the Redskins), perhaps we take a road trip to Buffalo?

  2. The Redskins don't actually play at RFK anymore! They're out in suburban Maryland. The game on Saturday was a DC United soccer game.

    I'm not sure if I'll get another free weekend to come up north during the football season, though if anyone wants to come down to DC, the Patriots will be here playing the Redskins on 12/11.

  3. Post updated to clarify the sporting event. :)

  4. nice pace on this. i think you should be targeting this kind of pace for the marathon. obviously, no need to push yourself, but you've got many months in front of you to train.

    glad to hear you're almost entirely mended as well.

    btw, did you end up signing up for another race?

  5. No other races yet, and I'm definitely not targeting an 8:40 pace. I wish.

    Todd, I'm sure you've told me about it before, but I'd love to hear about your stretching regimen. Stretching has not really been my thing, but I'm ready to start experimenting.