Have you trained for a long race, finished it, and then told yourself you were going to take a few weeks or month off after to let your body and mind recover? I have, and it seldom works. I have a serious problem just chilling out when it comes to taking recovery, especially since I am addicted to that endorphin buzz that a great run outside or a hard workout in the gym gives you. It has been exactly 2 weeks since Ironman Wisconsin and I feel great- both physically and mentally, despite the fact that I didn't take too much time completely "off.". I had 3 days totally off from doing any workouts, simply because I had a bit of a head cold and couldn't muster up the energy to do much except for take a 30 minute walk outside. But, this entire last week, I have started Afterburn II in the gym (an advanced fat burning program that Rach and I are going to hammer on for the next few months before we delve into prep for Oceanside) and I have also had some nice 'unplanned' runs that have gone pretty well as far as my recovery and how my legs have felt during them. That takes me to where I want to blog tonight.
Today, I woke up, had breakfast with a friend, and then decided to go for an hour run. I left my house, sans watch, and took my 7 mile, somewhat hilly loop that I haven't done since the Spring. The weather was unbelievable- crisp, sunny, and not too windy. Just perfect. I had done a trail run the day before and hammered the legs a bit, so honestly, I wasn't expecting to feel that fresh. But, as soon as I stepped out the door, my legs felt relaxed and I was in the zone. I kept a great pace the entire time- not too fast, not incredibly slow. I just let my shoulders relax, my breathing calm, and my head wander. I felt at peace, and it was almost as if I was running on clouds. Ever had that feeling?? It is a great one, and sometimes, you don't want to stop. And, the only reason I did was because I had plans in an hour. But, otherwise, I could have kept going for a few more miles...
I think that my fitness level is still "up" since the IM and, having said that, I believe that if I were to race, even a half-iron distance next week, that I would have a great race. The base that I had built up (if there is such a thing as "base") during my training for the IM has given me the endurance to have these longer, steady paced runs and rides (even if they are under 2 hours) feel really good still. So, the drop in intensity during the off-season will allow me to keep my volume high, and recovery even higher. And, hopefully, my runs will continue to feel this good as I enjoy the incredible Fall weather we are having right now going into the last week of September and into October.
Have a great week!
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