General rule of thumb ‘The more you do something, the better you get at it’. Same with running. My first 5k run left me unable to walk normally for a few days. The same pattern repeated itself every time I pushed myself too far or too fast. Each time the body would push back and say ‘Too much! Need time to recover’.
The problem is made worse if you are mentally tough. If you are the type of give up easy then you will probably be protected from the worst of it. If you have the ‘no pain no gain’ mentality then you will probably push yourself past the point of comfort. My early period of running were categoried by doing too much. I created a rule to help.
‘If you can not train within 2 days of an training session, then the mark is scratched’
All of a sudden my pattern of ‘too much, punish body, fail to give recovery time’ was gone. I have scratched off PB’s and milestones because I have broken this rule. The one caveat is it states ‘training’ – I do allow missing a session for a race.
I have since ran half marathons and still being able to do some activity within two days. Allowing my body to heal has meant that my body recovers quicker. Even when very sore, recovery is only a day or two away.
My 10k run on Sunday is the worst I have felt after a run. My legs were extremely sore – as bad as they were when I first started. The reason is simple. I hadn’t earned the time I gained. I hadn’t trained to try to hit 60 minute 10k. I simply kept pushing past the pain every time.
Yesterday marked two days since the run and I went out for a slow/easy 4 mile run. Not fussed about the time, just wanted to move the legs. It was the toughest 4 miles I have done for a number of years.
I was still exhausted all day. My legs were still sore. I kept moving. Getting up and walking around for a couple of minutes.
I went to sleep early at 8:30pm and woke up feeling amazing. The soreness is almost all gone. I will rest my legs again today, a swim session is planned instead. I am reminded again how important proper recovery time.