I have never found the post race or big event relax very easy. I don’t mind it for a couple of days at the most but find a gentle exercise week post a race a big event the best form of recovery to ensure aches and pains subside as quickly as possible. I remember after a number of marathons, before our 3 year old arrived, going out for runs the following morning after the marathon with my wife including a 6 mile run in Dublin the day after the Dublin marathon and a 5 mile in Berlin the day after the Berlin marathon. Looking back this was maybe a bit extreme!
The week after the 70.3 Ironman Dublin I didn’t anywhere near as much as usual during training, typically 14 hours a week, however from previous experience I knew the worst thing I could do was do nothing and let the body seize. The week after the 70.3 I did the following:
- Monday: complete rest as the body felt like it been beaten!
- Tuesday: the best thing I did was get in to the pool on the Tuesday morning, after the swim on Tuesday morning I could already feel a relaxing in the muscles. It was also the first swim I had completed in a long time not feeling the pressure to do a distance as set down by a training plan. After a 1,600m swim, I went off in to work feeling better.
- Wednesday: slow 3 mile run at lunchtime, however the legs felt extremely tight and the pace was very slow, 8min 30 sec miles.
- Thursday: another early morning swim, 1750 metres and feeling good. The body especially the legs and shoulders are starting to feel more relaxed and the muscle aches from Sunday nearly gone.
- Friday: another slow 3 mile lunch run, legs still feeling slightly tight however nothing compared to Wednesday. The body definitely getting back to normal.
- Saturday: Short 23 mile cycle on a flat route. This was to get the body moving again on the bike.
- Sunday: Next week I have a 95 mile cycle at the “Lap of the Lough” and I wanted to ensure my body was ready to go again. After a 2 hour cycle covering 34 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing the body is ready for next week.
My advice is don’t just turn in a sedimentary rock the week after a race, it will be harder to start again if you do, as the body will just start to seize up. Take it easy, do a few less intensive exercises such as a slower run, a swim and a slower flat route cycle. This will keep the body ticking over and loosen the muscles. It means it won’t be difficult to get started on your next goal.