Friday, February 4, 2011

Thinking about recovery

The human body is a pretty amazing piece of machinery when you sit back and think about it. But unfortunately it is often taken for granted, that is until something goes wrong. When working with clients I often make a simple analogy to a car. I say "if I told you to drive your car indefinitely without changing the oil, skip rotating the tires, etc. you would probably look at me like I am crazy!" But that's what the majority of we humans do to our own body's! We simply do not maintain our own machine properly and that is too bad because it can really be quite simple to maintain it. If you have been reading along in previous posts and checking out other blogs of my colleagues you may be starting to wonder if there is something to the whole "recover" part of "Fuel, Move, Recover, Endure". Well there definitely is.

One of my particular interests is how elite athletes, especially endurance athletes, perform at such high levels time and time again. If you happened to be at the PACER Team banquet at the end of January, you heard me speak a little bit about this very subject.

After reading an article in the January issue of Trail Runner Magazine that recapped Karl Meltzer's running of the 2,064 mile pony express trail from Sacramento, California to St. Joe, Missouri. That's right, you did not misread the last sentence, I just wrote a human being ran 2,064 miles in 6 weeks. He did however take 1 whole day off to stop at home and sleep in his own bed... I know what you are thinking "slacker"! So over those 6 weeks he averaged 53 miles per day and to make up for his day off he completed the 2,064 mile trek with a 105 mile last day.

I don't know about you, I know from my own experience of running 50 miles that I had trouble walking for a few days afterwards, so I ask myself how can someone possible do this! How could he recover from one day to the next? Well, part of Meltzer's secret is that like most elite athletes he knows just how hard he can push his intensity from minute to minute, day to day, week to week, etc. This is a skill that many individuals simply do not possess as they have the tendency to run the body past the red-line and essentially blow the engine making it impossible for repeated performance. This is one of the important attributes, but as I began discussing, the actual recovery process is of up most importance too.

So what are those key components to recovery? Well, it depends on who you ask, but there are a few important underlying principles (not all of which I'll cover here). Sleep, post performance nutrition & hydration.

Unfortunately, a brief synopsis of each will have to wait until next week as I now hear my daughter signaling to me that her nap is in fact over! Yes I sometimes feel like I am working through this. Lydia (my daughter) has a way with her really is quite uncanny!

However, before I run to change a diaper, I just wanted to let you know I updated my event calendar (to the left) with a 5k. If any one is interested in joining me in Morristown on March 12 it would be great!

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