I'm slowly making my way back into working out, all thanks to the close monitoring of my running coach/athletic advisor/fitness trainer/nutrition expert/whatever-you-want-to-call-that-trained-athletic-guy-at-my-company-whom-I-ask-questions-from-afar.
My feet were pretty sore on Sunday after the marathon, and on Monday I had some lingering pains in my shoulders and lower back, probably from not watching my form and taking the easy way out of strenuous movement. By Tuesday the pain hit my legs and I spent most of the day working with my swollen feet elevated. By Wednesday I felt 100% back to normal, even though I knew I was not. My blister is slowly healing as I keep clipping off dead skin, and I have a new development: my big toenail on my right foot is falling off. If Mark Remy is right in saying that losing a toenail is a rite of passage, I think I'm officially a runner!
My running coach advised that I not run for 10 days after the marathon, because, even though I may feel fine, there's a lot of muscle tears and damage I am not necessarily feeling. Getting back into training too soon could cause further damage to my muscles, and could even lead to sprained ankles, twisted knees, or other more serious injuries. He has also given me a list of foods to eat and things to drink that are high in antioxidants to promote recovery. Any excuse to drink more coffee is a good enough reason for me.
I'm taking his advice seriously since I want to get back into doing some fun summer races (I was asked to join a 5-person half-marathon team on July 4th; man I hope we have matching costumes!) without needing too much time off, and yesterday I had his blessing to go on my first bike ride. I made a short 5-mile loop to the grocery to pick up a few things. Tomorrow I plan on heading to LA Fitness for the first time in what seems like eternity. I went a few times to use the sauna and relax my muscles during my taper, but I can't wait to leave some real sweat in the gym.
Sadly, my coach advised me to not work out for more than 30 minutes and at no more than 50-60% of my max, and that just seems kind of pointless to me. While I don't run to get a workout -- I run because I love it, and the workout element is an added bonus -- biking at an easy pace seems like a waste of time. What he wants me to do sounds like merely keeping my joints moving, rather than using my body to any degree of real labor. I'm sure that's exactly what he's going for.
Lately I've been thinking about how I feel fine to run and I'm seriously itchy to get back into it. It's really hard to hold myself back when when I see people jogging the Greenway. This has made me curious why some people need weeks to heal, whereas other people run marathons every weekend and never need any recovery time. What do you guys do to heal after strenuous workouts? How much time off to you feel you personally need? When do you decide to push through the pain, and when do you decide to take a break?
A few of my candid race pictures showed that I had words written on my hands. Since I look down when I run, I did this to remind myself of a few things.
I grew up as a left-handed gymnast, but I am definitely not a left-handed writer.
- I tried to remind myself that the 2010 Minneapolis Marathon (MM) was my race -- I was drawn to it at this time in my life, and I was born to run it.
- It was only 26.2 miles. And yes, that is definitely a long, long way to run, it was nothing compared to what other people do. While I was thinking specifically of ultramarathoners and people who do 26.2 miles as their warm-up, I also thought of it in a way that some people never get to run a marathon. So many people have much larger battles they power through every day, and I'm so lucky that I get to do "just 26.2."
- "Enjoy" and "smile" are things I wanted to do during the entire experience, and "dig deep" is what I repeat in my head so I don't vomit everywhere ... especially as I pick up my shuffle near the finish line.