Friday, May 3, 2013

The Rest and Recovery Plan for the Next Marathon Training Cycle

First, a quick summary of my season ending race, the Drake Relays Hy-Vee Half Marathon: terrible.

Now that that's out of the way let's talk recovery. Okay, I will tell a little more, I did not rest up enough to race a good half eight days after a hard 10k, especially considering I did 14 miles moderately hard the day after the 10k and I had a 3k uphill tempo in the middle of the week. Second, I went out too hard. I have always been one who does not settle for 1% improvement when 3% improvement seems possible.

But seriously, rest and recovery and the next running and racing cycle. Here is the rest and recovery transition plan:

  • I will run every day and perhaps bike ride, but my heart rate must stay below 136 (arbitrary zone 3 on my heart rate monitor) during all endurance exercising or I will immediately slow down.
  • I will run less than 25 miles per week for three weeks before lifting a weekly maximum. 
  • My next race is the Grandview Gallop June 8th, and at the moment I am thinking of myself more as a pace setter than an actual competitor for my friend who wants to break 19 minutes for four miles. 
That is the plan, it took me about three days to solidify that plan. I was thinking about taking a complete break from running for 10-12 days, as I have done multiple times in the past. However, I have a running streak going, and I want to break my old running streak set back in 2011. Secondly, I know from experience that a break from running just means after a day or two of taking it easy I will be on my bicycle trying to set fastest known times on Strava up hills around town, hardly rest and recovery. By mandating to myself that my heart rate stays low, I am actually resting. In other words, running with my heart rate below 136 means rest while not running simply means find another sport.

This is of course an experiment. I take inspiration from Ron Hill who started running every day in 1964 and in 1970 ran a 2:09 marathon, after winning Boston in a record 2:10, the second best marathon in the world at the time. Plus, I think with my analytical qualities basing my rest on limiting my running mileage and endurance exercise heart rate I am creating recovery that I no longer think is recovery, as my pervious breaks were, I know it is recovery. 

Additionally, I am a huge fan of recovery eating. Now, 99% of the time I say that I mean eating directly after a run, but in this instance I mean eating the foods that I don't normally eat when I am thinking about proper endurance fuel, such as burritos, wine, chicken wings, and whatever else strikes me as being an unusual food for me. I feel all food has something to offer, at all times of the year, but in the course of a yearly training plan, I don't know that I get enough of every vitamin and mineral that might be contained in a guacamole bacon cheeseburger. The problem is that it is surrounded by so many other calories that it is not even a weekly occurrence for me. I do not think I have ever struggled with a nutrition deficiency, and I do take a multivitamin and liquid iron, but eating a variety of food not in my normal diet during a yearly rest period hopefully stores up minerals that I can use during the hard hard training to come in August and September. 

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