Recovery, Week 1: 5/2-5/8

This will probably be the most boring weekly workout recap ever, but I’ll do it anyway. I decided to push it off until today because I was excited to share my pole routine with you yesterday. That probably more interesting than a bunch of rest days.

I took a solid 24 hours after Boston and let myself have at it – eat all of the food, watch all of the TV, be as inactive as possible – but then, it was back to active recovery and tapering for my magical Kentucky marathon. But I promised myself a break – a break from diet, a break from running, a break from structure – post Kentucky. I bargained with myself in the last 10K of the marathon. If my legs would just hold on a little bit longer, I would give them some quality down time. I was ready to run by Monday or Tuesday, but I refrained. It rained every single day last week, and I wasn’t in the mood to fight with the elements when I didn’t have to.

A big part of why I chose to log couch time instead of miles had to do with my resting heart rate. Over the past year, I’ve been wearing a Fitbit. I mostly use it to track activity and calorie burn. Over this training cycle, I got really into monitoring my resting heart rate. Before all of my Hansons training, my resting heart rate hovered around 50-55 bpm average. Once my training kicked in, it lowered significantly – all the way down to 41 bpm. I found that I operated well if I could keep my resting heart rate around 41-45 bpm. After Boston, it stayed consistent and everything was fine. After Kentucky, it shot up to 50 bpm. It hadn’t been that high since January. No matter how good my legs felt, it was time for a rest. I don’t want to start my next round of training “overtrained” – I want to feel fresh. I decided not to lace up my running shoes again until my resting heart rate dipped below 50.

After my old PR in Charlevoix in 2014, I took a week off of running but cross trained like crazy. I never actually rested. My first run back was an aggressively paced eight mile run that left me in tears. It ended abruptly before I hit mile five with a serious calf strain. This past fall, I trained hard and ran Hartford. I felt decent enough afterwards, so I continued to run easy all week. That would’ve been fine, except I got the brilliant idea to race the Runner’s World Half Marathon the following weekend. I thought that since I didn’t PR at Hartford, I must have had some gas left in the tank. Guess what happened at mile three of that race? A calf strain that resulted in the end of my season. I still “ran” the rest of my races, but it got really ugly. So this week, I embraced rest.

Following the fall and over the holidays, I was certain I lost every ounce of fitness I gained over the past two years. I took a solid 30 days off of running and gained a bunch of weight. It was split up – not 30 consecutive days – but it felt super shitty to return to running. Except once I got my legs back under me, I felt great. There is no question that losing a little fitness and recovering is beneficial. I don’t want to take 30 days off again, and I don’t want to feel super shitty on my return to running. I also don’t want to gain a bunch of weight. It isn’t reasonable to stay at racing weight 100% of the time, so moderation is key. My goal this time around is to take one day off or easy for every mile I raced in Kentucky. So as of today, nine days down and 17 to go. I started running this week, but it’s all short and easy.

To kick off my recovery, I did whatever I felt like doing last week. If I wanted to eat brownies for dinner, then I ate brownies for dinner. If I wanted to park my ass on the couch and binge watch bad TV, fine. It was glorious, but I’m ready to add some miles to my schedule and get back into a routine.

I don’t have any new running or pole pictures to share with you, so here is a delicious mascarpone martini I had on Saturday after I performed my pole routine. I never get fancy drinks but mascarpone? YAS.image

I know I posted my Kentucky finish line picture basically everywhere, I thought the way I got it was pretty cool. I was sitting on my couch on Tuesday night, and an email popped up:


I thought that since the image was part of my image gallery from the race, it came up as my invitation to view my photos. Until my friend Jenny posted this same screenshot on Facebook a few minutes after and tagged me in it, saying “look what I got in my e-mail!” I was excited.

I suppose I should also share my week of “workouts” with you, since that was the point of my post:

  • Monday: Core/Pole Fitness
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Pole Fitness
  • Thursday: Pole Fitness
  • Friday: Pole Fitness
  • Saturday: Pole Fitness
  • Sunday: Rest

I threw the towel in with core work and strength training since I’d been extremely diligent about doing it every single day since February 1st. I’m back on that train this week. I meant to get out and bike, but it was nasty and rainy and I didn’t feel like riding my trainer…so I didn’t!

♥ Run: 0 ♥  

How was your week? How do you recover at the end of each season?

49 Replies to “Recovery, Week 1: 5/2-5/8”

  1. Really interesting about the heart rate thing. Maybe I should pay more attention to mine! See, this is why I hate racing, because I don’t like taking time off of running! Ha ha. I HAVE PROBLEMS.

    1. I never paid attention before, but it’s been interesting to see when I am running the best and how it corresponds with my resting heart rate. It dropped below 50 over the weekend, so I figured Monday was a good day to run. It dropped again today, so I think I am getting back on track!

  2. That’s such a great recovery week! Dude… a heart rate of 41 is nuts. Mine was 52 when I went for a physical and the doctor said that was pretty low. I’ve never used resting heart rate to decide about recovery. It makes sense though.

    1. The 41 was during my 82 mile week! I really wanted to get it under 40, haha. But after my peak week through Kentucky, it leveled off and hovered between 43-46. Maybe next time, LOL!!!

  3. That mascarpone martini looks fabulous! So glad that you are enjoying your recovery – you deserve a good break! It’s easy to get caught up in the high of a new PR and just keep going like your body doesn’t need a break (I’m guilty of that too!), but that recovery time is so important and when we take it seriously that’s when we can really see some big fitness gains – and less risk of injury! 🙂

  4. …and now I want a Fitbit so I can monitor my resting heart rate.

    Also I’m dying over here because you took one measly day off after Boston and I’m over here like, “Totally rocked that sub 20 5k, better take at least two days off to celebrate with all the foods!”

    1. LOL!!! Well, I had that mindset of “oh shit I have to pace a half in six days and then run another marathon” that got me through those two weeks. But now my body is like “ummm hi stop running for like a month please!” Take those days off, lady – yuo EARNED THEM!!!! SUB 20 5K EEEEE! I loved seeing that finish line picture you posted with the clock.

  5. Way to go for recovering! I’ve always wondered how many runners *really* took a week off after a marathon and I’m glad to see you do. Most people I know are racing 5Ks again the Saturday after and running the very next day. I’ve read the pros take 2 weeks off (it was in the Hansons book), but I can see where you wanted the mental time off too because you did just race 2 marathons and it takes a lot out of your mind *and* your body. Speaking of resting heart rate, I need to start tracking things like that- that could be a good key to fitness and overtraining for me and a lot of other people… because overtraining is definitely something we all want to avoid.

    That martini looks so good! Way to treat yourself :).

    1. Thanks, Amy! I never did the week off thing until I was forced to in the fall. And then I took another. And another. It wasn’t three straight weeks – there were weeks with some activity mixed in – but it helped so much! I do have some late spring/early summer local races on the schedule but it’s more about being out with the running community than racing. I’m not doing any speed work until I begin training again!

  6. Hooray for recovery! You worked SO HARD this training cycle, you absolutely deserve a break. And judging by the routine you posted, pole fitness isn’t exactly “resting” 😉

  7. Keep resting. It is easy to feel “guilty” about not running when it becomes so much a part of the daily routine but now is the time to let your body recover. I agree with DarlinRae. The pole workouts look plenty intense so you are getting plenty of cross training. Oh, and that is just the most awesome finish photo eva.

    1. Thanks Bonnie! I absolutely don’t feel guilty about taking time off – but I do miss it because I really love running! It was easy last week because the weather was terrible. But yesterday was nice, so I went for an easy run and it felt good. One day of easy or rest for every mile I raced in Kentucky is my mantra for the next few weeks!

  8. I think my training was a little more boring…so it’s fine. I think your recovery should include a date with me too…but really…

    I’m glad you’re recovering well and getting ready for what’s next…which reminds me, I don’t know what’s next for you.

    1. I think a date with you is a must!! Let’s plan something soon – what’s your schedule looking like?? I have my eye on two marathons in the fall but other than that, NO PLANS YET!! Wooohoo. Down time, all of the food and rest!!

  9. I saw your pole routine on FB – it was fabulous! So cool that you are doing that. Damn you multi talented people always making me feel like an underachiever, LOL.

    You know I am all about that recovery. I’m proud of you for taking it seriously this time around. I took the entire week off running after Pgh (usually I only take 4 days), and my first run back was only 30 min. I’m glad I waited that long because I felt great. I still haven’t run this week yet since Sunday – I’m gonna try to get out there tonight after work, but it’s so rainy and gross this week that I just don’t want to, even for just 35-40 minutes. I am doing something very similar to you: I am keeping all of my runs short and easy for the whole month. This is in line with everything I’ve read, which says you should wait about 4 weeks post-marathon before doing any racing or hard workouts. Next month I’ll start introducing some speed again, but I decided I’m only going to run by time until I start 10K training in August. I haven’t trained by time since I first started running, and I think it will be nice for me to take a break from obsessing over my pace and mileage for a while so I can listen to my body and just enjoy running for its own sake.

    1. Thanks Hanna! I am really excited about my routine and I’m looking forward to competing. I’m with you, running in the rain during recovery: nah. Unless its a hot summer day, I want none of it during the recovery. There’s no reason to be out there in the cold, dreary weather at this point! I’m signed up for some late spring/early summer races but that’s the only “speed” I see in my future, until training begins again. Those “races” are more about hanging with my running friends than anything. I’m excited to get back to training again, but loving the lack of structure right now!

  10. Mascarpone martini?!? That sounds even better than the cookie dough iced coffee I had after the BSR! I usually follow the mile/day rule after a race (active recovery one day for every mile you raced) and it seems to work well for me.

  11. I forgot to comment on your race post that your finish photo is one of the best photos I’ve ever seen. Such joy! So I’m not surprised they used it.

  12. I would do the same thing after a phenomenal season of training and racing! I’m sure your body is thanking you for giving it a well-deserved break. I like to take a month off after a marathon and do some cross-training. After my half in June, I will focus more on strength and heavy lifting -been slacking off a little. So impressive you kept up with your streak!

      1. A summer streak!? I’d be up for it after my half – maybe we can do it the first day of summer 20June until 4July. It’s only 15 days but we can up the ante by increasing the time commitment to 30min.

  13. I’m interested in your heart rate monitoring. Is an increased resting heart rate a sign that your body needs rest? I guess it means you’re more stressed out, so that would be a good indicator. No matter how much I workout, my RHR is always around 75-80. I can’t imagine it going into the 40s! I bet your doctors freaked out the first time they saw that.

    1. If your resting heart rate shoots up the way mine did, it is an indication that you are entering that overtraining zone and need rest. Maybe TMI, but mine goes up a few BPMs around my period. I knew as soon as it crested the 50 mark that it meant time to rest. It was hovering int he 50s back in December and January, but had been in the 40s since February. It’s 45 today, which is right where I like to be. I actually never had a doctor check my resting heart rate! I wonder what they would think, LOL! I don’t use my heart rate to dictate training paces but I like to use it to make sure I am not overexerting myself in general, if that makes sense!

  14. I just got tears in my eyes reading about you seeing the email inviting you to see your race pictures. Let’s just say I’m a little… invested in your and your blog. 🙂

    I am glad you are resting seriously. I have to tell you, I can’t read blogs where people overt train. It bugs the SHIT out of me because I know it is not healthy. I can’t read about people who live unhealthy lives. I know that sounds a little dramatic but I have recovered from disordered eating and exercise addiction so reading about people who just keep pushing and pushing and pushing… it annoys me and I can’t do it. And you KNOW those blogs are out there. Some of them are super popular too, which I don’t understand.

    1. Awwww Meg!!! You are the sweetest ❤ And oh man, I know. It's so necessary to take some down time. I never struggled with eating disorders, but I have several friends that have and it's a super tough battle. I don't mind sitting around and being lazy at ALL, but I used to think that lowering my intensity and resting would cause me to lose fitness, and that I'd never progress. I learned a lot over the past two years about this. By pushing through and not allowing myself some down time, I got injured. Even worse, by my final fall marathon I was mentally spent. It resulted in me taking a much longer break than necessary and having to earn back some fitness. It ended up working in my favor, but I want to be better about active recovery. I'm like, all or nothing. Like I'm training HARD, or I am blowing off my runs. I am trying to put the focus on strength training and recovery, and find a happy medium with running this month!

  15. Rest is so important. A week ago I was feeling sluggish and down in the dumps. I am pretty certain it was the onset of over training syndrome. Somehow doing all of that mileage plus walking a dog and baby for miles each day in the city started to take a toll. Rest and recovery really are essential. You will be so glad you did it. BTW, Rock and I had to do health testing for life insurance. His resting hr was 48. They checked it multiple times. It was pretty funny.

    1. Ha! I would love to get a health testing done and see what a doctor says about my rhr. Were they concerned about it? A low hr is technically considered bradycardia. I know it means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood to your body (which is a good thing) but I always wondered what a doctor would say about a low rhr!

  16. Sounds like a pretty awesome week! 🙂 Brownies for dinner sounds pretty yummy. Ok, your resting heart rate is in the 40’s? I just got a Fitbit Charge today and my heart rate is in the 80’s?! Dang, I need to run more.

  17. I love that not all only did you take your training seriously, but you’re taking your recovery seriously too. After your last month you certainly deserve it and I’m sure your body needs it! That mascarpone martini looks amazing! I rarely get a drink out, but it’s always the sweet/desert-y type drinks that get me to order one.

  18. Great plan for rest and recovery. I love the idea of eating whatever you want the day after your marathon. I think I’m going to adopt that! Very interesting about resting heart rate. I used to do my easy runs by heart rate and definitely saw my easy pace at the same heart rate drop when I did Hansons. But I actually never checked my resting heart rate. Also, your pole fitness video inspired me! My running buddies and I are going to try a class next week! So excited!

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