EDITOR’S NOTE: Along with Andrew Read and Narisa Wild, Julie Warren will be sharing her training experiences for upcoming endurance challenges. Follow Julie as she prepares for her next adventure – the Great Wall of China Marathon! Julie’s journals will be posted on Saturdays.
Athlete Journal: Julie Warren, Entry 15 – Rest and Recovery
So it’s been over two weeks since the Los Angeles Marathon, and honestly my motivation for doing any training whatsoever has been very lacking. It’s a slippery slope, those few weeks after a hard effort like a marathon. A day of easy-effort running turns into a day of nothing, followed by another day of wishing I didn’t have to do anything, etc. Of course, I acknowledge that my body needed some down time and I needed more sleep and this would ultimately give me time to plan and prepare for the coming weeks leading up to the Great Wall. That being said, it’s hard after being used to training religiously to take that down time and look at it as potentially beneficial to my overall training.
Today I decided to see exactly where I’m at post-marathon. It was a gorgeous day and the trails were definitely calling my name. I’d been derailed in my earlier efforts to get a CrossFit workout accomplished, thanks to work tasks that popped up, and so I was adamant that I was going to get a good hour of trail running accomplished after work. I was a little concerned, mostly because I haven’t run much since the marathon and I wasn’t sure I could accept losing the fitness that I surely must have lost in those two weeks (yes, it sounds just as crazy to me as I’m typing it, but that’s how my mind works).
My favorite quick trail run here in Colorado Springs is this amazing 7-mile loop around the Garden of the Gods. It’s extremely hilly, insanely beautiful, and a really good way for me to test my current fitness and endurance level. I don’t know what happened, whether it was some sort of planetary alignment combined with amazing weather and the right flavor energy gels or what, but I felt phenomenal throughout that whole run. I felt strong on the hills, running past areas where I typically resort to walking (in my less fit moments), I was recovering quickly, and in general I was just feeling really great. I actually was really surprised for a majority of the run, because I expected to struggle much more with this course than I did.
Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t any sort of planetary-energy-gel-weather phenomenon. Perhaps it was the fact that I’ve been getting at least eight hours of sleep every night, eating very clean, and just letting my body recover. Perhaps it’s possible to make gains in your training during periods of rest and recovery. I’ve heard all these things before, and I truly have always believed in them. I guess I didn’t expect to take as much apparent “down time” as I have over the past two weeks and still see major improvement. This is just another thing I’ve learned about how my body works, and that giving it what it’s asking for is typically the right course of action. Point taken, body.
So I’m feeling really confident moving into my first official “long run” weekend since the marathon. I’ll be doing about twelve or thirteen miles of trail running with an Incline thrown in towards the beginning to simulate the Great Wall course to some extent. That will be the real test of how my endurance level has (or hasn’t) been affected, but I’ll take today’s results as a sign that I’m doing things right. More to follow next week!