Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Highest Mileage Yet

This past week I logged 77.6 miles. My long run Saturday morning was my longest run yet, 27.6 miles (am I officially an ultrarunner now since I broke the 26.2 mark?) It was a good run with the XMP group, starting at Grosvenor Station in Bethesda and heading down through Rock Creek Park. A lot of the group is now tapering for their fall marathons, so our group of 10 or so dwindled down to 3 by the time we finished at Union Station. The route map is below.

I'm very surprised my legs have been holding up so well through all of this intense training. Earlier in the year when I trained by myself for my first marathon, by the time I got to my 20-mile runs I was dying and I could barely walk for the remainder of the day. This past Saturday I ran almost 8 more than that and my legs felt relatively well throughout the rest of the day. So what do I attribute this to? Well, first and foremost, my training with the XMP group has forced me to slow down my runs to a proper training pace. That has payed off BIG TIME. Speaking of, we got our group shirts this weekend (pic below). I think they turned out well, although the logo on mine appears to be slightly off-center.

I think another big factor in my improved running is how much attention I've been paying to proper recovery. I try to focus on proper nutrition after my long/hard runs (Endurox within 30 minutes of my run) and I've sacrificed a decent amount of skydiving to let myself rest. If I head to the dropzone right after a long run I end up running around, packing parachutes, carrying 200 lb tadem passengers (it's actually a lot of fun, I swear!), but I pay the price and usually feel like death, mentally and physically, come Monday morning. By sacrificing some jumping on certain weekends I have the opportunity to chill (read: nap) and let my body rest and get into recovery mode, rebuilding everything that was destroyed over the previous 20-some miles.

So proper training, nutrition and rest have all done wonders to my dear and beloved legs, but what is the one thing that has made the biggest difference in my training?

CAUTION: Ice baths may cause shrinkage (Photo: Flickr)

ICE BATHS! Now I know the judges are out on this one and there has not been solid evidence that an ice bath, aka cryotherapy, helps in physiological recovery for athletes, but I can personally attest that sitting in a bathtub of ice water for 10-15 minutes has worked WONDERS for my muscle recovery. My legs usually hurt a bit before going in for that first dip, but once you get out of the cold water it's a whole new world. The ice reduces/prevents any post-run swelling and you can feel the blood rush back through your legs, kicking the circulatory and lymphatic systems into gear as they carry away all the damaged debris and build your muscles to a newer, stronger state. It's not the easiest of things to sit idly in 40 degree water for 15 minutes, but I usually get a nice hot bowl of oatmeal and pass the time by jamming to some loud music. (I guess that means the new Metallica album is a beneficial recovery tool as well. Individual results may vary.)

So there you have it. Drinking Endurox, less skydiving, napping and ice baths. That's how I've become a stronger runner these past couple of months. The back of the XMP shirt says it all!

Running Strong since 2008!


Anonymous said...

sweet self-pics. you should put those things on craigslist and see if you get any takers.

Ashley said...

ow ow....check out those guns ; )

Kel said...

hotness ;)

and don't worry about the dz stuff... i get crap from skydiving friends for missing skydiving when i have a race or a dance event, and i get crap from my dancing friends when i skip out on them to go skydiving... when you have two hobbies that require a lot of time ... something gets cut... I have skydiving, dancing and racing... = no sleep and probably why i've been injured lately =(
... lesson learned... i'm slowing down and trying to balance them better.

BGill said...

anonymous - brendan don't be jealous.

smash - you know it ;-)

kel - gracias. glad someone else feels my pain of trying to balance 2 (or more) time-consuming sports. it's tough, but the limited jumping makes the jumps i do get in that much more worth it. and naps are always awesome too!

Kel said...

oh and talk about rackin up mileage... today I did 3 spin classes... taught 1 and took 2...then went dancing for 2 hrs...I thought it was a good idea at the time bc I'm trying to up my training, but man do my quads hurt right now...