Day 2 post marathon: My legs, specifically my quads, are sore. The kids are enjoying snickering at me hobbling around the house. I am quietly cursing the stairs every time I have to ascend/descend…The laundry is upstairs-errr! We have a family joke about my races–a scale for how challenging they are for me. My daughters’ bedroom is on the third floor (attic room). Here is how we rank a race effort…
Easy race, clearly doing it just for fun. Mom is easily able to go up and “tuck in”. Essentially no change.
Moderate effort. Mom goes up for “tuck in” but I can feel it in my legs.
Hard effort. Mom goes up for “tuck in”, but is noticeably slower, and uses the railing.
Challenging effort. Mom goes up for tuck in, heavily relying on the railing going up and basically uses her arms on the railing to descend.
Personal best effort. Say goodnight to Mom downstairs–Dad will go up and tuck in…
Over-achieving effort. Say goodnight to Mom downstairs, Mom hitches a ride up to her own bedroom via Dad!
This has been a Personal best effort. Still. On day 2.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a normal response to unusual exertion, an adaptation process that leads to greater strength as muscles build and recover. Soreness is often greatest with eccentric muscle contractions. (When a muscle contracts as it lengthens; as in descending the stairs). We have a pretty good rating system! (Muscle Pain and Soreness After Exercise, Elizabeth Quin)
There are several ways to help recover to prevent or recover from DOMS:
- Use a foam roller. I have to admit, that small roller is taunting me, and looks especially tortuous right now. But I will use it today!
- Active recovery. Do a SLOW, LOW impact exercise (walking, spinning out on a cycle) to “flush out” and increase blood flow to the sore muscles. I have been walking the dogs–slowly!
- Ice bath/contrast bath. The research does not conclusively defend or deny this, but many pro-athletes swear by it.
- RICE. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. I did this Sunday night. I think it helped. I also iced my quads again last night–brrrrr!
- Gentle stretching. Yep.
- NSAIDS. Yes, please.
- Listen to your body before starting exercise again. I plan on taking at LEAST one week off.
- Properly warm-up before your next session!
How long should one “take off” before running again post marathon?
Most sources concur and state to first, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, and take at least one week off post marathon. Recommended exercise (if desired) during this time period is easy walking, cycling etc. This chart is a rebuilding mileage after a marathon for a runner who was running 40 miles per week during training. It states to increase your mileage by 25% per week after a marathon. The rational for the slow build is that DOMS is essentially multiple micro traumas to the muscles and they need time to rebuild and recover; and during that recovery time they are especially vulnerable to injury.
Rebuilding Mileage – Schedule IV: ( Marathon training program: Life post marathon)
At this point, I am sore enough that I have no delusions of running this week. I plan on sticking to the above plan, and really trying to focus on core strength, upper body strength, and cross training when I feel the need to make workouts more intense. Those are my weak areas in training, so it is a good time to build new habits. Due to the time of the year, (limited daylight, decreasing temperatures) I asked my husband to put my bike on the trainer for the winter. When the snow comes, I incorporate snow shoeing, skiing, and hopefully this year, cross country skiing to my workouts! There is snow forecasted for Saturday (just flurries)–the countdown begins!
Do you use different cross training activities as the seasons change?