Friday, February 3, 2012

The Recovery Run That Kicked My Butt

My first run since Steep Ravine was a Wednesday recovery run on the home trails.  I only ran 3 miles, but they were the hardest 3 miles I've run in a looooong time.

I kept waiting and waiting for my quads to let me know they were on their way to recovery.  But on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was met with tough resistance on the part of my quadriceps femoris, most espcially my vastus medialis.  This must be the "go-downhill" muscle, and it prevented me from going downstairs (and thereby leaving our second-floor apartment) more than once daily.
If you are not physically prepared for descents on race day, the effect will be twofold.  First, damaged muscle fibers caused by early downhill miles in the race will negatively affect the latter portion of your race. Your legs will feel heavy and tired well before you reach the finish line. Damaged muscles don’t perform as efficiently as healthy muscles.  In the hours, days, and perhaps weeks after the competition, you will experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which will impact your post-race recovery and return to normal training.
 That pretty much sums it up.

Although my quads didn't feel 100% ready for their shake-out run, I was glad I did it, if only to humble myself into remembering that 3 miles can be really tough.

In the realm of recovery, I've done two 30-45 minute yoga sessions -one on Sunday and one on Thursday- and one painful 20 minute long session with my foam roller PVC-tube-wrapped-in-a-yoga-mat.  I hope to more of both of these things in the weeks to come.

Today I'm planning a 3+ mile hike/run through the state park trails just south of here.  It's a beautiful warm day and I'm happy to get outside on the trails.

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