Hi again everyone!
February saw me run over 210 miles as the spectre of the Thames Path 100 begins to pull firmly into view. I’m delighted with how my body has reacted to the increased effort with only a few ‘standard’ runners aches and pains to deal with such as blisters/toe nail issues/chaffing so horrendous I’ve started to walk like John Wayne – ask your parents kids!
Anyway, I’ve wanted to share the ‘4 Rs’ with you that have been essential in allowing me to maintain a consistent training block:
As important as the miles I’m running are the miles I’m not running. As a slightly obsessive runner, I have in the past found it difficult to take time off even when I’m tired! This kind of attitude means I’ve run a lot ‘junk miles’ whereby I’ve run without purpose resulting in a run that isn’t strenuous enough nor slow enough to be called a ‘recovery run’ that then inevitably leads to frustrating injury problems.
So a key message – whatever it is you are training for ‘don’t be afraid to take a break’. Your body will make the adaptations (i.e. muscle development & recovery) that all of your hard work is creating during this time. You’ll become better if you rest!
Following back-to-back long runs at the weekend my legs feel pretty beat up. After a rest day on Monday I head out for a recovery run otherwise known as an ‘easy run’. This is run at a pace where I could hold a normal conversation and the purpose is to stretch the legs out and to remove the remaining build up of lactic acid in the muscles. This sets me up ready for a busy schedule during the rest of the week.
After a prolonged effort, I make sure to refuel as soon as possible afterwards – generally within 30 minutes of finishing. Replacing the lost carbohydrates, fats, proteins and electrolytes aids recovery. I make a quick smoothie – unsweetened almond milk, a banana and a few tablespoons of hemp protein – that really gives a boost and provides a great blend of the required nutritional elements to get ready for my next training session.
The last thing that I’ve stumbled upon in recent weeks is taking a very long, hot bath. Don’t worry, I won’t get too graphic, but adding several drops of eucalyptus oil to the water has an amazingly smoothing effect on aching limbs. My legs feel significantly lighter and more relaxed after a soak and I’ve been able to push harder than before because of this addition to my recovery programme.
So there you have the ‘4 Rs’ – Rest, Recover, Refuel and Relax – that have helped me drive on during February.