My struggle is real. I expected my recovery post Ironman to take some time, but how soon is too soon? I have had nearly three weeks (19 days to be precise) off post Ironman now and still struggling with niggles of pain and recovery from very basic sessions. 5km jogs feel like marathons, 1 hour on the bike feels like days! The muscles just don’t want to do anything at the moment. I’ve now taken to drinking more coffee and consuming more sugary treats than ever to get though the afternoon lows!
I don’t want to waste the base I banked and built pre-Ironman. I also want to allow my body time to get over the Ironman event. Monitoring my heart rate at wake up and during very basic sessions, I am still clearly in a recovery phase. I’ve started planning my next 8-10 week block to prepare me for the Sunny Coast 70.3 in September. I have reservations backing up too soon and suffering burnout, currently I am just trying to re-build some recovery sessions (and they hurt a lot more than they should). I’ve turned to Google to see if what I am experiencing is normal and found some very interesting information. Recovery opinions range from 24 to 55 days before returning to full training load. So where do I fit? At the moment I believe the 55 is looking very attractive.
Patrick McCrann summarises a nice theory in an article titled “Bouncing Back From Ironman” on the Active website (Bouncing Back From Ironman):
“Week One: As the initial days pass, you actually feel better.
Weeks Two and Three: This is the Honeymoon Phase, where you feel good enough to work out, but really shouldn’t.
Week Four and Beyond: This is the Transition Phase. If you have been recovering well and have felt good enough to include some consistent aerobic activity, then you could be ready to transition back to your regular training.”
Gale Bernhardt also has two very interesting theories on recovery in an article titled “Determining Your Race Recovery Time” also on the Active website (Determining your race recovery time):
“A quick guide to estimate race recovery time for Triathlon Races: three to five days per hour of racing“
In this article Gale also provides a detailed “Modifiers for Race Recovery chart” which provides some great self reflection material. The chart forces reflection on your preparation prior to race day, your actions during your race, your post race recovery and how all these factors influence your recovery.
I am hoping over the next fortnight I can regain some very low intensity consistency. With a view of relaunching into my 3 weeks ‘on’ and 1 week ‘recovery’ monthly program after that. So I have a goal, I have a plan, so why whats missing, self motivation. Most people that know me, know that I don’t train with a squad and certainly don’t like to rely on others to get out and train. Normally I am very self motivated. So whats different at the moment? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, maybe suffering the dreaded post ironman ‘blues’! I have written about my monkey in other posts and my theory of ensuring I get up early enough to beat him out of bed, but at the moment its just not happening. I am also contemplating a cleanse or detox to try to kick-start (maybe shock) my body back into the rhythm and raise the energy levels. Off to see the GP and see if this is a good idea or not?
Other wise I will do some of my training at lower intensity with the hope of involving my wife and three kids, and will also plan a few social rides with some mates. I will continue my 5km parkrun’s at my local event every Saturday and hope that the motivation and mojo will return soon enough. As it stands I only have 10 weeks to the Sunny Coast 70.3 half Ironman event, which I DNF’d last year and will be seeking revenge this year (I hope)!
Stay tuned and follow my progress on Ted Britt on Strava. I’ll also continue to write about my progress and a couple of other topics that pop up during my journey!