Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Refreshing Recovery

I recently had the opportunity to meet and talk to World Record Marathoner Paula Radcliffe. She is a running phenom who is blazing the trail for all female athletes. Not only is she the fastest female marathoner in the world, she is also the fastest marathon mom in the world too! After giving birth to a baby girl in January of 2007, she won the New York City Marathon last fall! Simply amazing.

Okay, so back to talking with Paula... One of the questions I asked her was how she recovers from a marathon race. Her response was both predictable and surprising. Predictable in that she takes time off. Something most of us mortal marathoners don't do enough. Surprising because she really takes time off. No running and easy cross-training for an entire month! I guess I expected a graduated progression back to running like most of us do but she said invests four weeks to recover mentally and physically from the demands of her training regimen as well as the race.

So, as a coach and runner I was very intrigued with this method and decided to try it this month. I ran the Disney Marathon with my brother January 13th then another half marathon the next weekend and it was the perfect time to do it. I am happy to report it was one of the most effective recovery periods in my running career. I am finishing up my fourth week. I have done only easy cross-training and included activities I enjoy like yoga, cycling and walking and I haven't run a step in a month! It was funny at first because I almost felt guilty not running but soon enough I was in the flow of a new regimen and reaping the benefits.

So, having rested from running for one month I am eager to get back to a training regimen and have a rejuvenated sense of energy and motivation to do so. Mostly because my body has had time to relax and recover and I've had time to enjoy other activities my marathon regimen (and the holidays) wouldn't allow for like seeing movies, visiting with family, Bikram Yoga, snowshoeing. I am no Paula Radcliffe but I better understand her recovery strategy. She trains hard. She races harder. So it makes perfect sense that her recovery is just as hard.

It easy to overtrain or under recover.

It takes discipline to recover wisely.

Happy Trails,


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