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Day seventeen: Just Enough

January 17, 2012

Miles: 2.5

Total mileage:119.8 (192.7 kilometers)

Wow, legs can hurt a lot. More than you might guess when you first become a runner. Several times during this month I have felt pain in a tendon so bad I thought I was seriously injured. Watching the Biggest Loser has helped me to understand that most pain is just precautionary. Your body telling you to stop, when in reality, there is nothing going wrong inside of you yet. However, this is a fine line to walk. Ignoring pain altogether is a perfect recipe for serious injury.

Today I “ran” for about 1.5 miles and walked about 1. My legs felt like they would cramp after every 3-5 minutes of running. A little walking makes them feel more normal again, but its plain uncomfortable. My body often feels worse two days after the long run than just one day after. This has proven especially true for my back to back long run weekends. I hear more and more from the ultramarathon athletes that back to back long run is a good way to add distance. It mimics ultra races because the distances often require more than 24 hours to complete.

Try it yourself: plan a long run, far enough to make you sore. Get up the next day and run at least one mile. I often feel that the first few miles on the second day are more painful than anything experienced day 1.This is evidence, to me, that the second run is similar to just running further on the first day, since the body has obviously not recovered fully. Even if you are not doing double long runs, I would recommend at least a walk or short run the day after your long run. I find it stretches things out, and even seems to speed the healing.

Almost like shrinking nice pants in the dryer, if I don’t run on a short run they seem to heal tighter than they were. Stretching without running is almost unthinkable for me right now. My legs are in a constant state of sore since the 366k challenge started. If I don’t warm them up first the stretching is almost too painful. Feels much more right when they have had a little light jog, perhaps its the rapid blood flow clearing cellular debris from the muscle or perhaps it’s something even more complex. I think focusing a little on the science and a lot on the feelings works best. For me, when I’m sore, a light jog comes before I stretch at all.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 1:10 pm

    Hi Leo

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog updates to date, it’s interesting to read how you are coping with the running every day, how it’s affecting your body and how you are battling through the pain barriers.

    It’s truly inspiring. Keep it up.

    Good luck from this side of the pond 🙂

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