Thursday, January 26, 2012

REST DAY READER: Catching up... and recharging

The last few weeks have been extremely busy -- work and traveling -- so it's time for a quick catch up. This is the first installment of what I like to refer to as a REST DAY READER -- rants and raves during those days of recovery. Enjoy (or don't)...

As far as training goes, many miles have been logged over the last 3 weeks, including a tremendous 31 mile training run -- crossing state boundaries and back -- on one of those rare 60 degree winter days in Manhattan. I must say, recovery time after these long runs, all of which have been followed by a semi-long or even longer run the day after, has been incredible. I should probably attest that to my nutrition and quality of sleep. However, after the last 3 weeks of hard training, I am pretty relieved to take advantage of this recovery week. A common training tactic that has worked for me in the past, these recovery weeks come every 4th week of training after 3 intense weeks of race specific running. I usually despise these 'recovery' weeks because I just love to be out there logging miles (for the long races) or getting speed work in (for those shorter summertime races I like to do in the hotter temps), but this time I am confident the recovery week has come just in time. After a Florida 'vacation' 2 weeks ago, I realized how much of the last few weeks has included at least SOME sacrifice. You see, when I say I love running and training for an upcoming event I do truly mean it. That sentiment is yet to change, however, my recent Florida trip -- which was noted as a "vacation" from work -- seemed like anything but that. Each morning I was up at 4am to get the coffee going, the oatmeal cooking, and the calories in before heated long runs up and down I-95 and 'round and 'round the quiet roads of my grandparents' retirement community (very boring runs for the most part as far as scenery goes and, damn, Florida is FLAT!!) Afterall, I had to fit in the runs before setting out for the days other, non-running activities. In short, I did love it very much. That feeling of getting up in pitch dark, fueling up and then packing my essentials for the long run has always been a great feeling, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to take one extra rest day... That brings us to today: An extra rest day! Why? well first off, this is a recovery week, so I will be tapering a bit on the mileage, tacking off about 15-20 miles from my currernt weekly average of about 70 miles per week. Secondly, Tuesday's 10 mile trail run was slippery in the North Woods after all that snow started to melt and, I being the idiot, decided to wear my road shoes in the trails. I paid the price with a slip that kind of tweaked the right knee a little bit. Definitely felt it during yesterday's usual easy mid-week run (about 5 miles). So instead of hitting the road today, I'm happy to claim that I HAVE LEARNED from past mistakes and I will be taking an ADDITIONAL rest day instead of pulling myself out the door to create a new injury. One extra rest day won't kill you (Friday is a normally planned rest/easy day leading up to the weekend's back to back long runs) but one extra injury very much can AND will. So, as of now the side of the knee seems back to normal, but another night of full sleep and this extra day off the legs should keep things on track for the weekly back-to-back long runs -- which are also shorter this weekend a la said recovery week. Third and also just as important, an extra day off keeps things fresh, mounts more motivation, and recharges the batteries before ramping up the mileage as I head towards peak training volume. So Saturday I'll head out the door for 2 hours, followed by another 2.5 in the trails on Sunday, and then it's back on another hard week of running upwards of 80 miles per week! It feels good to recover. Afterall, the ultimate goal is the race, and in order to push yourself to maximum potential, one's batteries must be charged at the right times. The way I've come to think of it is that there's a difference, in training especially, between pushing yourself (GOOD!) and pulling yourself (NOT SO GOOD!). Pushing promotes progression and fights your personal limits in a positive light, but it's that pulling yourself, which walks a close line to the former, that potentially ignites injury and increases time on the recovery couch instead of on the open roads and trails.

So, to sum it all up: I LOVE YOU, RECOVERY WEEK!
(Two Months 'til Bel Monte!! Check out the race site:

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