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Rules of Recovery

/ 07:04 AM March 12, 2013

Out of the 150 who registered for the All Women Ultramarathon 50K last weekend, 143 official finishers made it to the 10-hour cut-off. That’s a 95% success rate. High by ultramarathon standards where DNFs are commonplace.

This high rate of success can be attributed to two things. First: the ladies who signed up for AWUM trained well for this race by doing long runs, route reconnaissance and race simulation runs and two weeks of proper tapering. The second and most crucial factor – the all-out support provided by race organizers and the running teams who provided food and aid stations every 2 kilometers during the all-night race from Cebu City’s Plaza Independencia to White Sands in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City after crossing three bridges – 2 in Mactan and one in Cansaga, Consolacion.

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But racing well is not just about training, tapering and running well on race day. One of the most important part of a runner’s maintenance that is often ignored or forgotten is recovery after an intense race.

How long should you recover after an intense race, particularly a marathon or ultramarathon?  I know of runners who race in back to back marathons only a week apart, or even a full marathon and 100 kilometers all within a week.

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While these runners do not show any signs of slowing down or any obvious physical damage now, I believe that this form of abuse will take its toll later. If you want to run for the rest of your life or until your old age, then you must allow for optimal recovery before engaging in another intense race, marathon or ultramarathon.

While factors such as the runner’s fitness level and age influence the period of optimal recovery, the popular rule of thumb is one day for every mile. Hence, if you ran 100 miles (160 kilometers) then the recovery period should be 100 days or a little over three months and for those who ran 50K during last weekend’s All Women’s Ultramarathon 50K (AWUM 50K), should allot 32 days for optimal recovery.

Many runners experience the blues during recovery period, mostly because they equate recovery with inactivity. Hence, the itch to get right back into action even before the body has fully healed itself.

However, recovery doesn’t mean sitting in front of the television and zero exercise. In order not to lose cardiovascular fitness even during the recovery period, the runner must engage in active recovery during the off-season following a particularly intense race.  Activities for active recovery could include swimming, spinning, dancing, zumba, yoga, pilates and tai-chi.

It will pay off in the end. Just as training for a race requires patience and smarts, so do recovering from a physically punishing race. If you want to keep running injury free till you’re old and grey, remember to be kind to your body.

Bantayan Beach Games

There’s no better way to pamper your race-weary body during the off season than to head straight to beach. This Holy Week, Sta. Fe on Bantayan Island will again play host to the Bantayan Beach Games on March 28 to 30.

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A kiddie triathlon and the super sprint are both scheduled on March 28, while an Oceanman (swim-run-swim) event will also be held during this three-day sports holiday.

The highlight of the beach games is the third and final leg of the Cebu Loves Tri Team Championship Series on March 29. Participants in the Cebu Loves Tri Series will do a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike and 10K run.

The Oceanman will be held on March 30 covering 200m swim and 400m run x 4.

Registration is now going on. Entry forms are available at the Rudy Project outlet in Ayala Center-Cebu.

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TAGS: ultramarathon, Women
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