Loup Garou Two: Recovery and Guilt

I’ve heard some people experience a letdown after completing an ultra. There’s even a name for it: Post-Race Letdown, or PRLD. There’s no consensus on why, but one reason may come from an attitude that you trained hard for a goal, you achieved it, now what? And sometimes there are also feelings of guilt during recovery, as though the extra rest looks and feels like you’re lazy.

So, is there PRLD for me after my 60-miler (actually 66-miler) birthday run?

Nope. Happy to say it’s never happened. Post-race recovery is something I look forward to; it’s an excuse to sit around, eat whatever I want, and sleep at lot – all in the name of restoring body and mind, and making me stronger for the next challenge.

I just can’t stop showing this photo.

Now what about “recovery guilt”? Umm…well…guilty on that one. As I told my trainer at Body Specs a few days ago, “I’m worried. I’m feeling too good.” Meaning I feel so good the temptation is to resume Training As Usual – a.k.a. peak training volume and intensity. Hey, I’ve got another race in eight weeks!

A dangerous attitude to have less than two weeks after a 100K, which I know damn well takes me at least four weeks to recover from. Going too hard too soon interrupts that recovery and actually prolongs it. More than once I’ve stopped in the middle of a post-ultra workout and asked myself, “Why do I feel so weak and crappy?” And it takes at least an extra week to recover from that, let alone the race. So I’m being extra careful.

That doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing. My trainer and coach believe in “active recovery” which involves working out with lower weights, and lots of stretching and flexibility work. And I’m back to running again, at an easy effort – no speedwork, and while hills are fine, no repeats yet. (In fact, one way I can easily tell I’m not ready for prime time yet is to climb a hill.)

And battle ropes. Did I mention how much I love battle ropes?

Still, I confess to some internal conflict. My buddy Charlie is also running the Grandmaster 100K in February, and he’s training like a horse. “I ran 65 miles last week,” he proudly told me. “But I’m going easy this week. No more than 30.” And this guy is over 70. Do not compare, I keep telling myself. Do not compare. And maybe, eventually, I’ll follow my own advice.

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P.S. Last time I promised to tell you about my other adventure at the Loup Garou, and the new friend I made. But this whole recovery theme hijacked that post in progress, so I’m going to let it win this time. Next post, I promise!

One thought on “Loup Garou Two: Recovery and Guilt

  1. Recovery guilt?! That’s a good one. No. You trained appropriately and you didn’t overdo it. And if you’ve got another race in 8 weeks, then I would say you did it right. I don’t know why anyone would run a 100k (personally I stopped at marathon distance, crossed it off my list and went back to running half-marathons in 2011). Nice work!

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