Wow-it's been over 48 hours since I finished the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon and I'm still incredibly sore. I'm pretty familiar with the post-Ironman fatigue, insomnia for several days, weird food cravings and walking with legs that don't bend but my body is not appreciating my effort from a 13.1 mile running race. My entire body is hurting and my quads are still preventing me from walking normally. Although today is much better than yesterday (thanks to 40 easy minutes on the elliptical, 1500 yrds in the pool and 15 minutes stretching in the hot tube this morning) I'm hoping that I can soon keep up with Campy on our walks.
As for training...there is nothing on my schedule. After every big race, I clear my training schedule to allow proper recovery from my race. Because I have to respect my body and listen to it, I typically don't design my upcoming training schedule (with Karel's help) until I feel 100% and know that I am ready to train again. I will continue to exercise to keep my mind and body happy and healthy but my schedule is unstructured and low in intensity and volume.
I am treating this race similar to a Half Ironman because this race took a lot out of me. I suppose a 4 min PR deserves a little R&R and I am happy to do just that. I believe in training the body and with a broken down body, trying to "train" would only put me behind with my upcoming goals, rather than ahead. Although I am really happy with my performance, I understand the limits of my body and recognize that it would be silly to fill a glass that has holes in the bottom. Recovery not only heals a tired mind but also heals a tired body.
Training and racing are two excellent stimuli to encourage healthy muscle damage. If you are determined enough to traumatize the muscles and break down skeletal muscle tissue, you must be patient when it comes to allowing the muscles to restructure and grow.
Recovery after racing is key in a balanced and consistent training regime. If a body is well rested and is well nourished, you can expect performance gains with minimal activity. Through providing the nutrients required for muscle growth and giving the body time for physiological adaptations, it's likely that you will return to training with a stronger body than before.
I'm really happy with how things turned out with my run/walk strategy at my last race. Sure, I have walked in many races (most notably Ironman and Half Ironman's-at aid stations) but that was because my body forced me to walk...not because I planned to walk. I realize that my version of the galloway method is a little unconventional, especially since a lot of athletes feel as if walking is "not allowed" during triathlon racing (or training). Well, if you ask me (and several of my athletes that I am coaching), I am noticing a lot more performance gains, than drawbacks, when it comes to training my body with high intensity running, alongside walk breaks.
When I was in college, I was pretty clear on the rules of swimming. I understood that if I pulled on the laneline during backstroke of the 200 IM or broke stroke during my specialty event which was 200 Butterfly, I would be disqualified.
Lucky for us (triathletes and runners), there are no penalties for walking during a triathlon, marathon or running event. When the ultimate goal is to reach the finish line, I am pretty certain that telling yourself that you "can't" walk is only going to make you feel frustrated, mad and discouraged if your body tells you to slow down.
There are many races when being the fastest athlete is the goal of many. However, for me, as an Elite, but not professional athlete, triathlon racing and training is my lifestyle. I'm sure you would agree that your goal is to not get paid to race but rather to live a long and healthy life, doing what you love to do (ex. swim-bike-run).
My approach to long distance racing is not about being the fastest athlete but rather, being the one who slows down the least.
After looking at my splits from the 2010 Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon, compared to the 2008 Outback Half Marathon, I am really excited about this upcoming year and being the best consistent and balanced triathlete that I can be. I also look forward to an exciting coaching season and helping my athletes reach their personal goals.
Outback Half 2008:
8:16 (last 1.1 mile)
Jax 1/2 2010:
8:00 (last 1.1 mile)