Six weeks later, I finally feel great!


Today I went on “just another training run”, a 6 miler to be exact.  I woke at 5:00am, ate a quick breakfast, dressed, and headed out for my run.  My goal was to keep my target heart rate around 149, or below.  This would keep me in an aerobic area rather than breaking into anaerobic levels.

I know everyone is probably tired of hearing about it, but in mid-February I ran my first 50 mile ultra and it has been very interesting how my body  has reacted and is recovering from it.  I’ve never done anything in my life which has had such a profound affect on my body.  It seemed crazy to me that many say it takes one day of rest for each mile of a race.  In the case of a marathon it means 26 days for the body to fully recover, and from a 50 mile ultra that means 50 days!  Well, I ran a marathon and followed it 14 days later with a 50 mile ultra, so guess how long that recovery should take?  Now I realize it doesn’t mean “total rest”, and still allows for some training.  However, the value of the training while the body is still recovering is something I wonder about.

Immediately following the ultra my heart rate was pretty high, compared to normal, during runs.  Here is my progression so far:

  • Prior to the ultra a 9:15 pace had my heart rate hover around 148, and when I did hard runs of an 8:45 pace my heart rate was around 154.
  • After the ultra I found that my heart rate was 156 at a mere 9:48 pace a full week later, and I felt like crap.
  • Two weeks later I found my heart rate at 147 at a 9:35 pace, and felt better though not good.
  • Three weeks later I still didn’t feel great, but did feel good.  My heart rate was around 150 at 9:00 pace. THIS is when I realized that my fitness level was about to surprise me.
  • Four weeks later every day was a new surprise as my 8:33 pace was reaping 156 heart rates (11 miles), and runs were starting to feel easy.
  • Five weeks later, WOW! I am running 8:43 with a 151 heart rate.  But strangely still do not feel 100%.
  • Six weeks later, today, I ran a very easy 8:43 pace for 6 miles and a heart rate of 146 and, AND, felt GREAT!!!

Now, I’m not trying to say that I have fully recovered. (This is obvious when I practice judo, and my form sucks.)  But I feel great!  I feel rested, my weight is back up to where I want it without fighting to keep it there, and my fitness level for running has greatly improved…score!

signature_blockStay tuned.

12 responses to “Six weeks later, I finally feel great!”

  1. Sometimes, you need an epic day to realize new levels of fitness. Have you been tracking your resting HR? I’d be curious as to what THAT number has done since the marathon/ultra/active recovery cycle….

  2. Wow! You are crazy running a marathon and an ultra that close together. I always wondered if it was worth it to do an ultra because it takes so long to recover did you have a hard time not running? I feel like I wouldn’t rest enough, run and then get hurt. Would you do it again?

  3. Glad to hear you are feeling so good:)

    I love to hear about your ultra! This is seriously making me consider throwing one in there after a marathon. What’s the “ideal” ramp up for it following a marathon, tho?

  4. @Wes, I have not really tracked my resting HR too closely, but think that it had dropped from 57 to 53 since the ultra. (Not to be confused with sleeping HR.)

    @Keri, YES I would definitely do it again. Although I think I would have ran the Miami marathon slower than the 3:52 and tried for a lower time on the ultra instead of 11:25)

    @Psyche, there are many rules of thought for ultra preparation and it depends on how long you are going to run. (50 or 100) The only thing I did in preparation was to incorporate some serious walking into my training. Other than that I simply prepared for a marathon. If I were going to do a 100 I would have to consider a long run 2 days per week instead of one. (run long on Saturday, and longer on Sunday)

  5. Hi Adam,
    Thank goodness you are feeling back to yourself:) Those ultras must take so much out of you. I am not surprised that it takes some time to fully recover from one ot those. Stay healthy and stay strong:)

  6. Very interesting observations, Adam. Thanks for posting. I’m always fascinated with how the body reacts to training (especially at our ages, as opposed to when I ran many years ago and pretty much ignored my body). I have yet to run my first full marathon, but I’m getting an idea about recovery after long runs. Glad to hear you’re feeling good & strong again!

  7. WOW, I can’t believe how much your body lingered from that race. I suppose that it makes sense to a point but still – yowza! 🙂

    “They” say that an elevated HR is due to over training, so be careful!

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