We are in a bit of a “tweener” period here, where many major marathons are finished, but there are still some biggies to come. Thus, a lot of the content this month is divided between “recovery” advice and “race strategy” thoughts. Since I’m in the first boat, let’s start with the former topic.
Jeff Gaudette contributes the best post on marathon recovery, detailing what happens to you during the marathon and making the argument (that I finally listened to this year) not to run for a week after the race, and not to rush back after that. If massage is in your recovery plans (or, for that matter, preparation plan), Jeff also points out that not all massages are created equal, and there are four in particular that are helpful for runners (oddly, none of them involve hot stones). He had me at Active Release Technique.
And lest you ignore that advice, there were a lot of great posts on injury recovery. First, Pete Larson argues that shoes can, indeed, be a contributor (but not typically the “sole cause”) of injury in a well-reasoned argument in a debate that otherwise is no more informative than your typical political type. On the Natural Running Center site, an excerpt from Jay Dicharry’s Anatomy for Runners discusses the causes of running injury and, more interestingly, refutes the belief that rest is the best cure. Frankly, rest did nothing for me in recovering from a hamstring strain and Achilles tendinitis – it was only when I focused on strengthening and moved back into running that I actually started to heal.
And speaking of Achilles tendinitis, Running Warehouse actually provides a good overview of causes and treatments (in the process promoting some of their products, of course). And there are two good posts on dealing with its evil step-sister, plantar fasciitis (note – there are no good step-sisters in that family). First it’s back to Pete, who shares his experiences in coping with this issue over the long term (and his experiences parallel mine with Achilles tendinitis – eventually, the shoe that should make things worse actually seems to make it better). And also back to Jeff, who gets a bit more detailed in the causes and treatment options for plantar fasciitis. I’ve written up some PF rehabilitation/prevention ideas for a few clients, which I’m happy to send to anyone who is interested.
And now back to the topic of race strategies. Mark Cucuzella writes a post on getting in race shape, but the best part is the second half, where he makes a great analogy of marathon-runner-as-vehicle, and argues that you need to stay in hybrid gas/electric mode to optimize your energy usage. In addition to a whole series of race strategy posts on Runners Connect on Chicago, Marine Corps, and New York City (bookmark these if you think you might ever run these races in the future), John Davis provides the research on what happens to you during a cold-weather race – it’s not all as positive as you’d think, and the key point is to avoid having to use up your energy to keep warm. And if the wind might be a factor, Alex Hutchinson provides the data suggesting that drafting behind another runner can help – but you better be close and right behind the runner (and it helps to be fast too).
OK, now you’ve run your race and recovered, so let’s get back to training. First you need to set a new goal – and then, as Matt Frazier at No Meat Athlete points out, you need to communicate that goal, to burn your boats. And yes, I think the argument that you need to keep your goals to yourself (lest you get confused and think that communicating a goal means you achieved it) is a bunch of malarkey. And don’t forget to expand your training a bit while you have the time to, as this studio that Traci Rodriguez has found emphasizes (with a great list of details), focus on functional fitness. And if you get a bit busy during the holidays, Brian Martin of Running Technique Tips provides you with workout ideas for limited time – the bare minimum you need to stay fit over a six week period (roughly the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day).
Now for a topic dear to our hearts – debating the best time of day to run and the sacrifice of sleep required for the predawn runner. John Davis on Runners Connect first suggests that rising body temperatures explain the general increasing trend in workout performance as the day progresses, and then stabs again by citing research showing the impact of sleep deprivation on your training (which appears to be more mental than physiological). However, Cathy DeRonne at 25 Hours comes to our defense with her Early Morning Manifesto, so you can feel good about getting up at 4AM again – so rest well, fellow predawn runners.
Finally, to celebrate fall marathon season, I’m offering the Kindle edition of Running Ahead of the Sun free of charge from November 1 to November 5. Please stop by and pick up your free copy even if you think there’s only a small chance you’ll read it someday, and help pass the word along! To learn more, you can read about the book and some of its reviews.