So my marathon recap is here and there were three things I intentionally left out because they deserve a post of their own.
Long runs involve a lot of planning as far as hydration and fuel go, as well as post run recovery. After training for a specific race you also have to consider what the plan is going forward. These three aspects are important to consider and I’ll lay out my method below.
Race Day Fuel:
When my training runs reached 1.5 hours or more, I started experimenting with different gels, chews, and drinks. This is something you work on while training so you know what your body likes and what gives your stomach issues.
Fortunately I never had any GI issues while running and taking gels. I used Clif Shots and Sport Gels, as well as energy beans and Clif Shot Bloks. Basically these are pure carbohydrate sources with some electrolytes. No protein or fats, simply energy through a mixture of fruits/sugars/caffeine.
Pre-race Breakfast: Black coffee, a whole wheat bagel with egg whites and cheese slice, and a homemade muffin. This has been my breakfast all Summer so I knew it boded well.
Intra-Run: At 10K I had my first Clif Shot and a few sips of water. At 16K I took half pack of Clif Bloks (3 Bloks total). These have caffeine as well (25mg) and feel like a jujube, but less sticky! I took another Clif Shot around 22K, and my last 3 Bloks at 28K. If you notice, I alternated between liquid shots and harder bloks as a way to fool my body between ingesting liquids and solids. I also drank water as needed and never felt overly thirsty.
I took my final liquid shot around 34K, and it was a Sport Gel with caffeine. I finished my water shortly after that point (2 cups total). All of those gels and bloks equated to 125 grams of carbohydrate, or 500 calories. I never felt hungry or had pains from dehydration, so I was confident with my fueling strategy overall.
The rest of the day included celebratory cookies, Chinese food, fruit, clif bar, and other random snacks. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted because I could 😉
Post Race Recovery
I will admit first hand that I BLEW it at this point! My body was sore immediately afterward, and after a few minutes walking we drove home where I showered, changed, and lay in bed…for 4 hours! I ignored my foam roller and didn’t attempt stretching until that evening. Take my advice…don’t do what I did! Your body needs rest of course, but light stretching would have been beneficial too.
Of all the pains I expected to have, it was very surprising to me that my knees were so sore. Knee pain has never been an issue for me, but when I thought of all the flat miles that were logged, it did make sense.
I cleaned up my act Monday and did some foam rolling, went for a massage, iced my sore spots, and also had an Epsom Salt bath. My joints felt much better after all of that, and the next day I was walking a lot easier. The Epsom baths were something I should have been doing all along, they are amazing!
While I was prepared for a down period, the days following the marathon threw me off a bit. After all the planning, the injury, training and anticipation, not having a date on the calendar to work toward really messed with me. I was a bit depressed, mentally and physically exhausted, and felt a little empty (this can also be referred to as “Post Marathon Blues,” which I almost didn’t believe existed). But, alas, my head got back in the game and I started making a new plan!
With the weather still very decent I decided to maintain a couple of runs a week until it gets too cold to do so, and I signed up for a 10K fun run at the start of November. I NEVER do these kinds of runs so it’s exciting to step out of my comfort zone a little.
Since there’s always room for improvement I’m making a list of things I need to work on for running in the new year. Form and mechanics, speed drills, and other foot work are all priorities to help me reach a PR next year.
I’m also getting ready to start another strength program to work on squats and deadlifts. This is my Winter/Spring focus before I gear up for a 2017 marathon. When I got injured this training suffered quite a bit, so I’m ready to get strong again.
I’m keeping my eye out for races in August/September/November 2017 that I may want to do. Running and traveling go well together so I’ll see what I can do when vacation comes around. Repeating the PEI Marathon in October is a given because I have a PR to reach (#Goals). The sky’s the limit and I’m excited to see where my legs can take me!
How do you cope with post race blues? Are you participating in any races this Winter?
Let me know so I can follow along!