Post event recovery is an interesting thing. Having run many a track race over the years I was well aware of the tightness and fatigue you experience. But when it comes to the long stuff, like over 3 hours on a bush trail, it’s a whole different world. Not only was I left battered and bruised from falls on the Sunday run at the start of the week, my quads were dead and all I wanted to do was sleep. That said, I wasn’t as buggered as I thought I’d be and managed to gradually build through the week to some semblance of normal training.
What I did learn is that the human body is very adaptive. As my long runs have increased and the weeks of running gone by, I’ve noticed I’m recovering better and feeling less tired. It’s a combination of improved fitness and the physiological changes your body goes through as you become conditioned to the impact. It’s the pounding on the legs that I find the hardest to endure. My lungs can handle the running perfectly fine, but my pathetically skinny pegs suffer a lot. When I first started running around again I was sore after 45 minutes. Now I can handle 2 hours and not be too bad. Though the end game is to be able to do a hard session on Saturday and then cover a solid 3-hour run on a Sunday and be good to go again the following morning. That’s when I consider myself ready for a proper ultra!
One of the other valuable lessons I’ve learnt, not so much in recent times but reinforced every week, is the need for company. Not a life partner to share the highs and lows with, although that too is pretty awesome! But people to share the running journey with. The value of a training squad extends beyond having people to push you along in sessions. They become your extended family. The shared journey is always the most enjoyed and having people around you that understand what you are trying to do and can help you on your way makes the process easier and far more enjoyable.
In running terms, I use my training squad for advice, motivation and to push me. In social terms, they’re my closest friends. This closeness comes from suffering together. From understanding the journey we’re all on. We each share the highs and lows of each other’s sporting and even personal lives. From the PB’s and achieving goals, to the bad races and injuries. It’s when the motivation is down that you need your squad the most. This was reaffirmed for me just this week when we were all in Mudgee for one of our training partners weddings. After a night of celebrations the last thing most people want to do is rise early for a morning run in 37 degree heat. But thanks to the team mentality of the squad, there we all were, half asleep, hung over and raring to go! Turns out it was one of the toughest but most memorable Sunday runs I’ve done in years.
Sunday 26th January – Knapsack 3hour (3:16) 46km
Monday – PM 6km shuffle
Tuesday – PM 7km easy
Wednesday – 16km easy
Thursday – 16km easy
Friday – 13km on hills
Saturday – 21.5km
Sunday – AM 30km (Hot and hung over!) PM 10km