Stuck in Limbo: Running On Tired Legs
After successive training weekends with back-to-back long runs, I’m finally beginning to hit my stride again as I look ahead to October 27th. The more I complete these training weekends, the more I get to thinking about the best way to prepare myself during the time in between each run. In essence, I’m stuck in limbo- not fully training, but not able to fully recover yet. I certainly give a great deal of thought to my preparation for long runs and races, making sure that I have my nutrition, rest, and gear ready to go. However, I haven’t necessarily altered my lifestyle in between Saturday and Sunday long runs. I know that the idea behind this training technique is training your legs to run when you are tired, and pretty much any mileage within a 24 hour period feel fairly similar to a continuous run as far as your leg muscles are concerned. However, when I get back on Saturday, I tend to go about my day like any other. Perhaps I need to put a bit more thought into this decision?
When I get home back on Saturday morning, like I did yesterday, after 24.5 miles, it’s pretty standard for me to shower, eat a hearty breakfast (fresh fruit, whole grains, protein) and kick back with my coffee to relax for a bit. Then I simply launch in to the tasks for the day, which seem to be many. I was having a conversation just this morning about how I no longer differentiate the weekdays from weekends because there is always plenty of work to be done. This is only going to become more true as the semester starts ramping up (starting tomorrow!) and the workload increases. However, I think I need to take a step back in order to maximize my training and my productivity.
I’m becoming more aware that I need to be smarter about how I use the time in between long runs to partially recover, and refuel properly before I go back out on a long run the next day. I can’t alter my schedule too much because things need to get done, but there are a few simple things I think I can be more conscious of as I move forward.
#1- Hydrate: It should go without saying, but I need to make sure I’m sucking down plenty of water (without over-hydrating, of course)
#2- Refocus nutrition: In essence, I should be treating the time in between in part as though I am still running, and focus my food intake on carbs, with some protein thrown into my diet (25% or so). I can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but should keep things fresh and clean. If it wouldn’t sit well with me during a run, I don’t want to eat it during my limbo period. I probably want to limit my fiber intake too 🙂
#3- Foam Rolling: I am trying to be better about doing this consistently in general, but I need to make sure I roll my legs once or twice on Saturday afternoon to help keep them fresh for Sunday.
#4- Rest: I woke up at 5:50AM today, after getting up at 4:30AM yesterday. This just doesn’t leave enough time for my body to get the rest it requires- perhaps a new Saturday afternoon nap ritual is in order!
These steps certainly don’t seem like rocket science, but the need for intentionality is what seems to be crucial for me. Logically, I know these things need to happen, but I need to translate that into a consistent routine. Doing so will ensure that I accomplish my training goals and the rest of my professional goals at the same time! Do you have an suggestions? I’d love to hear them!