Taking a deliberate recovery week after a goal race has helped me continually improve my race times and maintain my joy in running. After running a half marathon PR last week, I took a mini break to recover this past week. I slept in until 6 AM every morning. I didn’t exercise until Friday and then I kept my runs short and easy. Between Sunday and Friday, the most exercise I did was taking the dogs on 1-2 mile long walks – which actually takes a good while, since they stop and sniff everything.
I ran three miles on Friday and Saturday – just simple, enjoyable runs at an easy pace.
Here’s what a week without much running at all looked like:
Ryan and I got out for our first hike of the year, after a season of skiing and a few weeks of lazy Sundays. We started off our season with a 5.5 mile round-trip hike at Tiger Mountain, with 2000 feet of unrelenting climbing. The hike was just the right amount of challenging and refreshing.
I let my nutrition slide the week after a race. I indulge more than I normally would and I’m not as careful about making sure each meal will adequately fuel me. If I want to eat cheese and crackers for lunch, I eat it – which I normally wouldn’t do in training for worry of not getting enough nutrients or the right type of calories I need. And yes, I ate cheese and crackers and veggies for lunch most days. I also still had kale salad because honestly, I was craving it.
Since the weather has been absolutely beautiful, Ryan and I have been grilling for dinner most nights. We made pizza with a homemade sourdough crust on the grill. Grilled pizza is so delicious – the crust is crispy and the cheese gets so melty.
I cut back on alcohol during training, especially during race week. To celebrate a huge PR, I’ve been indulging my love of a good craft beer.
After the race, we celebrated with a couple of beers at a local taproom (the Bine in Bothell). I stuck to session style beers (4-5% ABV) since I didn’t want anything with a high alcohol content immediately after a race. I had a session IPA that was crispy and hoppy and this German dark lager.
We also got some crowlers for later in the week. Have you heard of crowlers? They’re relatively new, it seems, and are the perfect alternative to a growler since they contain just over two servings of beer. We tried a hazy IPA from Fremont Brewery in Seattle, which was delicious.
Later in the week, we tried a sample pack from 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon. The Apocalypse IPA is amazing, easily now ranked in my favorite IPAs, and the India Red Ale was fantastic.
I was a bit of a linguaphile in college: I minored in Latin, took a couple years of Hebrew, and learned some German, and briefly even attempted to learn to read French one summer. To occupy my mind during the taper, I downloaded the Duolingo app on my phone and started relearning conversational German. I spend about 10-40 minutes per day working through the lessons.
I’ve also been reading more recently. I just finished up Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, which was a fantastic and hilarious piece of fantasy fiction. I am partway through reading Run Strong, Stay Hungry by Jonathan Beverly.
I like to constantly vary the distance I train for. In 2017, I trained for a half, 10K, and a marathon, and my body responded well to that – and more importantly, the variety kept me mentally engaged and excited. There’s a somewhat hilly 5K just a warm-up jog away from us at the end of June, so I plan on throwing in some hill work and speed workouts to sharpen for that and serve as speed development for fall races. I’ve never raced a 5K so it will be a fun challenge!
I’m also excited to resume strength and conditioning. We plan on joining a gym soon, since our apartment gym doesn’t have barbells, plyo boxes, or other equipment we want and the space is so limited. I’m so close to a full unassisted pull-up and really want to accomplish one by the end of summer.
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How was your week of running?
Do you take time off after a big race?
What foreign languages have you learned?