Author Archives: crossn81

Detraining and Recovery

After 12 weeks of training for a race I’m now taking some time off to let my body recover and heal.  When I was first thinking about trying to do a fall marathon I asked my old X-Country coach what he thought about doing a spring half and a fall full marathon.  He suggested I schedule it so that I could take at least 2 weeks off without running.  It worked out pretty well in the schedule for me to run the Earth Day race and then turn around and run Twin Cities in the fall.  I’ve done pretty well at not running only logging 9 miles in just over a week (though 6 of that was racing).  I feel fine,  but I miss running.

Here are some thoughts about de-training and recovery from the New York Times.

This is from an older article about fitness but it is still worth reading and thinking about.

…training is exquisitely specific: you can acquire and maintain cardiovascular fitness with many activities, but if you want to keep your ability to row, or run, or swim, you have to do that exact activity.

It also shows, they say, that people who work out sporadically, running on weekends, for instance, will never reach their potential.

An athlete who has stopped training for 3 months loses almost all of the cardio benefits gained through months of consistent training.

Running allows athletes to have a lower resting heart rate, a larger heart, and greater blood plasma volume (which allows the heart to pump more blood with each beat).

One of the first things that athletes lose during a period “detraining” is the plasma volume.

Plasma water is lost amazingly fast, said Dr. Paul Thompson, a marathon runner and cardiologist at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut.

“We once paid distance runners $10 a day not to run”, Dr. Thompson recalled. “They spent a lot of time in the men’s room urinating. Two days into their running fast,” he said, “the men lost a little more than two pounds from water weight as their plasma volume fell 8 percent.”

But if runners keep running, even if they cover many fewer miles than at their peak, they can maintain their plasma volume, Dr. Thompson said.

When athletes stop training, the heart also pumps less blood to their muscles with each beat. Both changes are so pronounced, says Edward Coyle, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas, Austin, that within three months of detraining, athletes are no different in these measures than people who had been sedentary all their lives.

The article also talks about the impact of cross-training. The conclusion is that cross-training can help the athlete keep some of their cardiovascular gains – but they will still have to work hard to recover other aspects of their training. But there is good news:

Even exercise physiologists are surprised at how quickly the body can readapt when training resumes. Almost immediately, blood volume goes up, heartbeats become more powerful, and muscle mitochondria come back.

That is the good news that most injured runners need to remember in the doldrums of an injury. The researchers did caution that recovery is dependent on a lot of factors.

[tags] Injury, Cardiovascular, Training [/tags]

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Foto Friday

This is the last of the memorabilia! Having it all hung on the wall makes for an easy (and uncreative) picture for Foto Friday! Almost all of the ribbons are from the Thursday Night Point Series that I ran with the Anderson Road Runners and then a hodge podge of medals thrown in from various races. Taken February 2008

[tags] Foto [/tags]

Stretching Poll Results

The results from the highly scientific Team Cross Runs stretching poll are in!

I’m sure you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what most people do so I won’t make you wait any longer.

An overwhelming 33% of runners stretch before and after every workout.

There is a 5 way tie between second place with 17% of runners doing each. The second place categories are:

  • Never
  • After Hard Workouts only
  • Before Every Workout
  • I Stretch All the Time

Ok so this poll isn’t really generalizable due to the large size of the poll – only 6 readers responded to my first ever poll. Thanks to those who did! You can see the full results here.

I might try some more polls in the future – keep an eye out for them!

Half Training: Week Ten

Image provided by stock.xchn

I had a great post all written and kapooey – the server went down and I lost it. So I’ll try and recreate it the best I can!

I had great plans and aspirations for this week since it was my spring break. I thought, “I can sleep in, get some great training runs in and feel great.” Well that isn’t what happened. I did get to sleep in, but sadly it was due more to the need of sleep to get over a little bug. It is probably the combination of traveling, staying up late, and all the weather changes but I got a little mucus stuck in my throat and lungs so I took some time off to recoup and beat it before the race in 2 short weeks!

Monday – Run 3 miles at an easy pace, then speed up to goal half marathon pace for 7 miles. Run one more mile at an easy pace to cool down. Having spent 15 hours in a car the day before and not getting a ton of sleep I opted to just do an easy run this morning. It was great 40 degrees with a slight rain. I ran along the Prairie Path in Wheaton, IL which was a little muddy but still had solid footing. I was going to just do 5 but I felt good and kept going to add the extra mile. My overall run was 6 miles in 46:25.

Tuesday – Run 6 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides. I spent 7 hours in a bus yesterday and got to Minneapolis with over 5 inches of snow on the ground. By the time I ran most of the Greenway had been plowed, there were still icy parts and connecting trails from the Greenway to Lake Calhoun still had all the snow on them. I did yesterday’s “tempo” workout today minus 2 miles of the pace work. My leg still didn’t feel 100%. I did the 5 mile tempo in 38:46, pretty lame if you ask me and about a minute per mile slower than it should have been. My overall run was 9 miles in 1:12:46.

Wednesday – Run 2 x 800/1200/3200 meter supersets. Run 800 meters at 5K pace, 1200 meters at 10K pace and 3200 meters at goal half marathon pace. Do not rest between the distances. Recover between the sets with 800 meters at an easy pace. Cool down with 800 meters at an easy pace. I had planned on doing an easy run today, but awoke feeling a little sick and sore and just plain yucky and tired. So I opted to go to the gym and biked for 8 miles in 30:35. It felt good and wasn’t too strenuous. I also took advantage of being at the YWCA to get some good stretching in.

Thursday – Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides. I planned on doing the superset workout today if I woke up feeling healthy. But I actually felt worse and so opted for a day-off despite fore-casted temps in the 50’s. AHH just a little frustrating. But I want to be healthy in 2 weeks so a day off now is better than later!

Friday – Run 4 miles easy. Run 5 acceleration strides. Another beautiful day wasted away at home.

Saturday – Standard warm up. Run 8 miles at goal half marathon pace. We were camping up north, I had brought clothes but opted not to run on the trails, which turned out to be a good thing since they were still ice and snow covered, or very muddy!

Sunday – Rest Day! I did rest!!

Total Mileage: 15 miles in 1:58:25 and 8 miles on the bike!

[tags] Half Marathon, Training [/tags]