Well, first of all, I want to congratulate all runners and walkers who did the Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon yesterday. What a fantastic day we had. Just to think about running or walking miles and miles is enough to make most folks go lie down. I always say it's not doing the race that makes the marathoner, it's getting through the 5 months of training! When I first began running marathons in the late 70's (the year, not my age!) the recommended training period was 6 months if you ran but didn't have a solid base. Now, folks come out because you got a flyer in the mail, decide you would skip all that Base stuff, set a goal of a Half or Full Marathon out there and you hang in for 20 weeks. The next thing you know is that you have a medal around your neck. Finishing a marathon is something you can NEVER explain to anyone, and it's something that, no matter whatever you do from here on out, anyone can EVER take away from you. If you did this with TNT, The Bell Center, or any other charity, your rewards were even bigger. YOU are saving and changing lives. Through being a TNT Coach for so many years, I know the power of fund-raising and I know what you've been through to get there, but more importantly, I know what it means to children and adults you will never know. That's the best kind of giving, isn't it?
So, what do you do if you did Mercedes? After the soreness wears off - and you're sure it never will - you're all jacked up and you'll start thinking about your next race. Give yourself a break and enjoy what you've just done. Only one-tenth of 1% of the US population has ever finished a marathon - that's pretty select company. You'll start to feel better long before your muscles are ready to go through that again, and don't be surprised if you get a cold in the next week or so. I think that while you train, your immune system takes a tumble and some other forces are at work to ward off the evil germs, but then when you eventually complete your event, your body says "OK, are you through with that for a while? I'm not fighting Mother Nature for a little bit, so you're on your own!". You should take a few days off from running, but try to do some walking, biking, easy elliptical, etc. to keep the blood flowing to help the damaged muscles repair. Try not to take anti-inflammatories (Advil, Aleve) for a few days as inflammation is actually part of the healing process, so stick to Tylenol to control the soreness. Your first few runs will immediately remind you of how you felt at the end of the race, but that will pass. Your best bet for the next two weeks is to just do your taper in reverse. The danger lies in if you try to race too soon. Then you may be setting yourself for an injury. No racing for at least 3-4 weeks and then, try to keep it short and/or easy. There are alot of 5K's in the area, so you might want to look at one towards the middle of March. Anyway, go easy on yourself as you recover - easy runs, stretch, ice sore muscles for the first couple of days and keep your medal close at all times so absolutely nobody you encounter misses the chance to see it! If you want to see a funny, very short video from the London Marathon about what runners look like after the marathon, go to here.
So, this volume of Training With Al has come to a close. I hope it's been of help to some of you training for Mercedes or your own marathon. Then in September, we'll blow the dust off these posts and recycle them to the next batch of Mercedes runners. To them, the posts will be new, and the rest of you new veterans will review slightly revamped episodes of Training With Al. If at any time you have any questions about training, don't hesitate to contact me.
If you have any ideas for this blog, have a comment about how next year it might be better, or anything else, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, again congratulations and I'll see you when I see you on the roads - AL