Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Workout Recovery

As I assume 95 - 99.9% of people reading this blog are either runners or athletes in trainings (say for a triathlon), you all probably fall into the same trap: over-training + under-recovering.

Probably how you feel all of the time if overtraining.

It's just the way of life for runners in training. We become obsessive and compulsive about our training. We always feel like we should be doing more and feel guilty when we take time off (and we wonder why people think all of us runners are crazy). You may see short-term improvements in workouts and races. But, you are dramatically increasing rate and severely of inuries as well as burnout. There are countless stories of people who have over-trained, lost the love of the sport, and gave it up all together. I personally had this happen to one of my good running friends and part of is always checking race results in his area to see if he has come back, but nothing yet. 'Running OCD' reared it's ugly head again.

With all of that being said I want to share 3 pretty solid articles with you (one of them is the main reason why I'm training full-time now, we'll save that for the end).

1) Our good friend Dylan Wykes offered up his thoughts on what he does after a hard workout to ensure proper recovery. (Note: he has access to a few gadgets that all of us don't, but the concept is there).

Click here to read his blog article. Very interesting.

2) Ryan Hall is currently on his way to London as USA's 2nd fastest marathoner at the January Olympic Trials. In the recent years he has left his coach and went own his own 'faith-based' program. He went from running 120 miles per week down to 100 miles and with a day off each week. The majority of runners at his level or aspiring to be at his level would a) never settle for 100 miles per week or b) be ok with a day off. So how do he go about making this decision?

He talked to this guy: Matt Dixon.
Hall on left, Matt Dixon on Right
Dixon is a former competitive triathlete who suffered the a serious case of over-training.

Here are some quotes from www.runningtimes.com article:

"Dixon helped Hall see anew the benefits of recovery, encouraging him to incorporate more rest into his training and to eat more post-run to aid recovery"

"Dixon isn’t a 21st century wizard with secret knowledge; he just believes that recovery is under-valued and under-utilized. “Our goal is not to train as hard as we can, but to perform well,” Dixon says. “And to perform well you have to be very fit, but not fatigued.”
 Recovery, however, shouldn’t be confused with easy. “Recovery is the thing that enables hard training,” Dixon says. If you’re rested and fueled, you can you push yourself to new heights in key workouts and increase fitness.
I suggest you read the uber informative article, found here.

3) Hands down the best article I've ever read on training properly / smartly with almost a guarantee of getting faster (assuming you aren't already injured) was written by the co-founder of www.letsrun.comWeldon Johnson.

The article is called 'Why I Sucked in College'. It talks about Weldon's rise from a fairly competitive 10k runner with a personal best time of low 30 mins for 10k to one of the top 5 American times for the year in 28:06 - 4:31/mile or 2:49/km. Another cool note about Weldon was the fact that he paced Paula Radcliffe, the female marathon world record holder to her first world record of 2:17.18 in Chicago in 2002.
Paula Radcliffe with Weldon pacing

The whole article is essentially one big quote. I can guarantee you there is nothing you will read about training that is more true than this. Some highlights (all of the bold and capital letters are part of the article):

"Running is a very simple activity. It is largely an aerobic activity (and more so the farther you run in distance). The better aerobic fitness you have, the better you'll do. The more you can train and the more consistently you train the better you'll do. Most of us however, especially college runners, are out there running ourselves ragged, pounding away at intervals, without taking a step back to see what we really should be doing."

"The goal of every interval or every workout is not to run as fast as you can. Let me repeat that, THE GOAL OF EVERY INTERVAL OR EVERY WORKOUT IS NOT TO RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN"

" In running however, there are not bonus points for running "hard." The point is to run fast. There is a difference. Don't forget that. Too many people confuse "hard" with fast. The next time you see Bernard Lagat running, tell me how "hard" it looks like he's running."

Happy Running!

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