Monday, March 27, 2006

Just Like the Bad Old Days

Sunday's long run was a lot of fun - but it had all the after-effects that I used to feel in the "old days" when doing 22 miles was a new endeavor. Back when I started training for marathons with Marc, I'd come home exhausted, tired, befuddled, and not good for anything more than lying on the couch groaning about the ache in my legs. For hours I'd be out of commission, unable to participate in life as I hobbled from one room to the next, restless, tired, and spent.

My argument was that this would all pass. I'd progress to the point where running 22 miles easily with friends would have no impact on anything else scheduled for the day. This became partly true. 

But yesterday hit me in all the wrong ways. I was incredibly sore. More sore than I have been in a long time and just as weak and fuzzy-headed as my beginning runs. I knew better than to lie down on the couch - as I'd never get up. But the whole day was a battle to stay awake. I went to church and could barely keep my eyes open, I went to my Dad's birthday party and ate pie to no effect, and struggled to become motivated for anything needing attention at home. I even tried a shake out run and called it off at 1 mile due to the soreness. It wasn't until I ate my first piece of french toast late in the evening my daughter made me that I suddenly perked up and felt much better.

Ugh. I think it was the accumulation of the miles on the 'ol system. I hit the sack early and didn't set the alarm so I could acquire as much sleep as possible. This did the trick. This morning I awoke refreshed and could have gone for a run if there had been time. However, by the time I walked around the house a bit, my right quad was still very sore so I made the decision that today would be a rest day.

It's one thing to fatigue the aerobic system and recover after re-introducing the right amount of carbohydrates and rest. But it's another thing entirely when one of the muscles has been stressed a little too much and is in need of further agressive recovery.

I can trace this problem back to a day last week (I think) where I ran a pretty brisk pace on a hilly course. I remember after the run my quad being sore and thinking that I pressed a little too hard on the hills for the condition of my muscles. Without any standard rest days, this muscle has had a difficult time fully recovering. It feels fine when running at a brisk pace. It's the slow stuff that makes it twinge. So with this in mind, I took the day off for complete recovery.

Lucky for me, it fits this week's plan fairly well. It's a "drop" week in order to rest the body a little before I go into some marathon specific training over the following two weeks. I don't know exactly how much I'll drop the mileage but I assume it will be significant enough to provide the muscular rest I need. Next Sunday is a half marathon in St. Martin's, NB which I'd like to run as well as I can. A good practice session on race strategy. This is another good reason to "taper down" this week.

The following two weeks I'll try to include less low aerobic running in favor of longer MP runs. Hopefully, with the additional rest for the legs, the MP runs will be brisk but certainly doable. It should provide an indication of where I can expect to hold a pace for the marathon distance (or slightly slower). Since I have been focusing on aerobic conditioning (and plan to continue for now), and that I am fairly early into this new program, I can't expect wonders now. But I can take advantage of the better conditioning I already feel and shoot for that sub 3 performance.

Training so far this week: 23 miles.

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