People sometimes ask me how bad you feel after running a marathon....how long until you recover?
Right now it's Thursday (the race was Sunday). I'm feeling a lot better..if I had to assign a number I'd say that I'm about 90% recovered when it comes to non-running things like walking and going down stairs.
The day after (actually the worst is the day after the day after) my quads (the big muscles on top of your thighs) were the most sore. Going down stairs you use these muscles to lower your entire body from one step to the next.
When you run, they are used the most when you run downhill: you have to accept your whole weight on each leg in turn and brake using the muscle with so-called 'eccentric' loading.
Eccentric loading is is backwards from normal muscle operation, you know, you tense the muscle and it contracts and that glass of wine finds its way from the table to your thirsty lips 8)
Eccentric loading means the muscle is in tension and gradually has to *lengthen* under that tension.. When your blasting down hill, your quads are doing this, big time!
For some reason I don't understand, this is not a very efficient way for muscles to work, so they get pretty sore compared to the other leg muscles.
If you are sore enough, it's impossible to go down stairs without turning around and going down backwards (which switches the loading to the back muscles which are much bigger). I did not have to resort to that...although I admit I did grab the handrail whenever I went down stairs.
Today, they are feeling pretty good. Up and down stairs no problemo.
I probably could go running now (at a very slow pace) but I prefer to wait a entire week or so before doing any running. When I do start running it will be at a very slow pace, with no hard running for 3-4 weeks (The rule of thumb is one mile of easy running only for each mile races..therefore 26 days of easy running)
What about the heart? Is it tired?
Well, not that I can notice...yesterday I took my HR sitting at my desk at work and it was 48 bpm. That's my sitting resting HR that I often have measured. I've never seen much if any impact to my HR the day after any race or long, hard run.
Recently there's been a lot of press about deaths during marathons (and half-marathons). For the most part the conclusion is that the number of deaths is no higher, per runner out there, thanit was before.
I'll talk more about my views on this in another posting that will probably be titled "Running and the Central Governor"
But right now I'll go back to nursing the last bits of soreness here and there and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with them.