Improvement Season: Recovery

In looking back at Philly, this is perhaps the most confusing part of my performance. Unlike my normal training cycles where I balance school, coaching and training, I was essentially off to train. Yes, I was still coaching and taking classes, but I was able to get 9 hours of sleep every night and had ample opportunity to nap during the day if I needed to. Furthermore, I had a totally flexible schedule which meant that if I needed another day before a workout, I could take it. Despite this, I felt like my taper was the least effective of any taper I’ve done. In some ways, I’m curious about how running goes now that I’m back on my regular crazy schedule.

Sleep: I start Surgery on Monday and furthermore, start on the night shift. I actually prefer running while on Nights because I can run at 3 in the afternoon on rested legs. When I flip back to days, my plan is to run at 4 am and then do strength after my shift. I know some people can run after a day in the OR, but I can’t stand the ache of “OR legs.” In general, if I can get 6 to 7 hours of sleep, I’m a functional human so this is my goal going forward.

Compression: As warm as it can be in compression socks while scrubbed in, I just need to get over the fact that I’m always the sweaty kid and do it.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

A rare dry moment. Must be pre-op.

Foam Rolling/Flexibility: This is a place where I really didn’t excel during the Philly cycle until the end. I have a simple routine that takes about 10 minutes. I do 8 rolls over my glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, IT band and hip flexor on each leg, 30 seconds of hamstring stretch per side with a stretching rope and 30 seconds of calf drops off the basement stairs. My goal for going forward is to do this routine after my morning runs rather than waiting until I’m sore.

Run Paces: I suspect this last item plays the biggest part in my underperformance at Philly. In past cycles, I’ve done my recovery runs and many of my regular runs really.slowly. For this cycle, however, my recovery and easy runs just didn’t feel as easy. I think I was feeling pressure to “catch up” after the anemia fiasco and not necessarily listening to my body. Going forward, I am going to start wearing my heart rate monitor on my recovery runs again, with a goal of keeping my heartrate under 135. If I am still feeling under recovered, I may start wearing it full time. If that happens, I also need to find a way to protect the skin on my sternum, which is permanently scarred from my chest strap…

How do you assess your recovery? Any tricks for keeping chest straps from digging into your skin?

2 thoughts on “Improvement Season: Recovery

  1. foxrunsfast

    Oh the chest strap scars – the struggle is real!!! I can’t wear mine anymore because of it. I just try to make sure my recovery days are 1-2min slower per mile than my easy pace. If I find I’m running those runs too “hard”, I’ll make myself run on a treadmill so that I can set it to a 9:30 mile and prevent myself from speeding up.

    1. Runner Under Pressure Post author

      We JUST bought me a treadmill for the winter and I’m so excited to have a way to ensure my recovery runs are slow enough!! I am planning to wear my chest strap tomorrow and dreading it…


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