Friday, October 17, 2014

Rest, Recovery and Rambling

This is going to be a rambling post, with more than one topic, as I try to recover from the damage done by traveling for a week and running five marathons in five days.

First, it’s weigh-in Wednesday.  Yes, I know.  Today is Friday.  I was traveling this week and didn’t get home until yesterday afternoon.  I always weigh myself first thing in the morning, so today was my first chance this week to weigh myself.

I weighed in at 121.0 pounds.  That’s up almost a pound from last week.  This begs the question, “How could I gain weight while running marathons five days in a row?”

I have an efficient metabolism, so I only burn about 1,500 Calories per day when I’m at rest.  As for the marathons, the average runner burns about 100 Calories per mile.  I’m much lighter than the average runner, so I probably only burn 80 Calories per mile.  That’s about 2,100 Calories.  So, to maintain my weight while running a marathon a day, I need 3,600 Calories.

Most days, I didn’t eat a full breakfast.  My breakfasts on race days generally consisted of a Pop Tart and one or two cups of tea.  During each race, I was drinking Gatorade after every lap.  That’s 12 to 16 small cups of Gatorade.  Most days I ate a few post-race snacks in place of a lunch.  I did eat a real lunch one day, but other days my only full meal was at dinner.  I did eat large restaurant meals for dinner, but it’s still hard to imagine that I ate more than 3,600 Calories total for the day.

I don’t think I gained any weight until Wednesday.  That was the day of the last race.  Since I had time to hang out in the finish area, I ate more post-race snacks that day.  I also ate a fairly fattening dinner and then had a box of mixed chocolates and jellies for dessert.

The real damage happened yesterday.  I ate a full breakfast at the lodge where I was staying, I ate a fattening lunch at the airport, and I had a few bowls of ice cream when I got home.  I also got no exercise.  Zero.

The day after a race, I usually only do light cross-training workouts.  That might be a 10 minute core workout, or at most, 20 minutes on the stationary bike.  Yesterday, I didn’t do anything.  I didn’t get enough sleep Wednesday night.  That was one day too many.  I felt really tired and run down.  I was so tired that I didn’t even have the energy for a core workout.  It’s also the reason why I was eating so much.  When I’m feeling run down, food makes me feel better.  I don’t just mean I feel better emotionally.  It makes me feel better physically.  Yesterday, I gave myself permission to indulge in comfort food.

Normally, I would have resumed running today, but I opted for cross-training instead.  First, I did the core workout I skipped yesterday.  I normally do those every other day, and I was a week overdue.  I also did 20 minutes on the stationary bike.  I always start and finish with five minutes of easy spinning, so I was only pedaling hard for 10 minutes.  That’s enough to get some circulation in my legs, but not enough to be stressful.  This was strictly a recovery workout.  Finally, I did weight training.  I was also overdue for that.

I had a race on Sunday, so tomorrow will be another rest day.  I may do another 20 minute spin on the bike, but I won’t do any more than that.  The point again will be recovery, not training.

In my race on Wednesday, I felt completely tapped out.  My body is telling me I need a few days to recharge, and I’m going to listen.  Barring an injury, this will still be the highest mileage month I’ve ever had.  I don’t like to take three straight days off from running, but I think I’ll benefit more from rest than I would from an extra run.

If I’m feeling good in my race on Sunday, I can resume a normal training schedule.  If I don’t, I’ll consider taking more rest days.  I’m looking at the big picture.

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