Regeneration with Stimulus

Recovery from a big race? It's important, but what does it really mean? How do I decide I'm recovered? Take a day easy for every mile in the race is a rule of thumb, but that translates into 35 days. I've got a 100km race I want to be prepped for. Maybe I could just smash my way through training and keep going until my body catches up. What could go wrong?

So on and so on, my head struggles with how to structure the days to week(s) after a race. To decide how to measure my recovery I need to know what my goals are. That's simple, to be at my best for the Wilsons Promontory 100km in May. To help with that I want to not only take the fitness I've built recently, but capitalise on the gains I've taken from last week's Two Bays Trail Run 56km. Now, how do I do that?

Firstly, I move away from the term recovery. Instead I use regeneration. For me it creates a better mindset. Recovery always comes across as a passive process, rest, sleep and not much else until you don't feel tired and sore anymore. Whereas regeneration makes me think of an active process that rebuilds and even adds to what was there before. It requires assistance, such as fuel, manipulation and exercise all combined with some rest. The latter mindset works better.

The week after racing 56km is a mixture. Most training is on the easy side, but there is still some stimulus thrown in to add to the training effect. Of course this is moderated with being in tune with how my body is responding combined with the experience of what gets me in trouble. What gets me in trouble is the sustained or high-ish volume above anaerobic threshold work. Good news is that isn't featuring much in my training anyway. The other side to be wary of is the way I fatigue during the longer runs. It's hard to explain, but there is a certain feel in my muscles that is a low grade discomfort and significant drop off in power. I've learnt the hard way that pushing through this fatigue only brings me down over the next two weeks.

This is how it went...

Sunday: 56km race, conservative start made for a more even race. Result: personal best!

Monday: regeneration therapies, super easy walk, light stretches, slow, range of motion work, 2x contrast showers, extra sleep.

Tuesday: 30min walk, stretches, self massage, rang of motion work, contrast shower

Wednesday: Regeneration run: 43min (6.3km). Very careful to maintain proper posture and control range of motion during running. Pace didn't matter, it just had to feel very easy.

Thursday: Easy 10km. Normal easy effort level, ignore pace. Turns out the pace was significantly slower than normal. The legs just aren't quite ready yet.

Friday: 90min MP 80-85% (plus warm up & cool down). A steady state effort at 80-85% of my future goal marathon pace. I felt really good for the most of this run. Generally a bit tired, but the legs clicked into a good rhythm. A slight issue in the way I slowed down near the end and really struggle up the minor inclines gave me a bit of concern.

Saturday: That concern led me to repeat the regeneration therapies from Monday.

Sunday: Long Run: If things worked out the ultimate goal was 40km in roughly 4 hours. It didn't go that well. Instead I felt awesome for 15km, and was running crazy easy. From then it was a slow decline and that fatigue I know reared its head. So somewhere after 20km of running, I power walked the rest of the way home, taking a short cut over some hills (can still work of race technique) for a total of 30km in about 3 hours 45min. I probably got some consolidation on my endurance qualities here, but the body wasn't ready for a big hit.

Monday: Regeneration run: 7.5km 50min.

Tuesday: Easy 10.5km, 60min. Feeling good now.


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