Recovery Week

After a morning of easy biking and swimming and a trip to the grocery store, I needed to refuel. So I stopped at my favorite fast-food spot, Panera, for a low-fat smoothie, which would tide me over until I got home and could have a proper lunch. Only my rewards card had a treat on it — a free pastry or sweet. How can I resist free? So I accepted a free chocolate chip cookie which was warm and gooey and wonderful. I returned home, unpacked my grocery bags, picked up a little bit then, shortly thereafter, crashed hard and fast on my couch to reruns of The West Wing.

This is why I don’t normally make giant chocolate chip cookies my lunch.

And this is part of the beauty of recovery week.

Recovery week can be difficult on several levels. First, you’re sore, so you have to work your way to walking up and down stairs and getting up from a seated position without wincing. Second, you start to feel better and want to get moving on to the next training block or race. Third, there’s a post-race emotional letdown, post-race blues, which often comes after any big accomplishment and left unchecked can turn into a deeper depression.Fortunately for me, this race was followed by a week of planned vacation to recover and celebrate. As recovery week continues, here is how I’m supporting myself post-race:

Taking time to relax, read and people watch at Krull Park

EAT. When I talked with my coach, he noted that after a marathon, and particularly this long, difficult, endurance trail race, the body needs carbs to rebuild. My approach is to mix fun food with good food. That means some ice cream and milkshakes and of course the giant chocolate chip cookie. But with fewer workouts and an easier pace to life this week, I’m cooking more and focusing on whole, fresh ingredients as much as possible. Nothing like balancing that cookie with a fresh arugula-tomato salad.

EASY WORKOUTS. I haven’t run yet. Not until all my soreness is gone. Instead, it’s been lots of swimming and easy bike rides. The trail marathon did damage to my body, some of it I feel in soreness some of it hidden. I need to respect my body, move it, but give it time to heal.

MASSAGE. The best supplement I could give my body is a massage. I met the women at Balance Massage Therapy and Wellness at Diva Night at Fleet Feet Buffalo and made an appointment for a mid-week massage. The hour was fantastic and relaxing and complete with some stretching which helped work out and revitalize my muscles. It was money and time well spent.

CELEBRATE. This was a big deal race for me. I realize the world continues to revolve around the sun and life goes on as usual, but it doesn’t go on as usual for me. And I need to take the time to recognize that. My celebrations include getting together with friends and spending quality alone time. I took a drive up to Krull Park and Olcott Beach to have my own little picnic and read. I’ve spent time on my front porch, cell phone securely silenced in another room, and read some more while watching my neighborhood unfold. With some undirected free time I allowed myself to be moved by the spirit — going to Old Fort Niagara to satisfy my inner history student or heading out to Knox Farm State Park because it’s local and I’ve never been there. The key to the celebration is not to force myself to do anything, but to allow myself to do anything.

What works for you during recovery week? Do you suffer post-race blues? Do you eat junk food like crazy? Do you start right back up planning your next race?

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