My ultra training program continues, with a 2 1/2 hour mission around Mt Coot-Tha. I was joined by a group of Brisbane Trail Runners and together we scouted out a few sections of the course for the race I’m running in July. Humidity was off the chain and we were all drenched with sweat, but it was a good outing.
I give my ultra training the priority it deserves. Family and health come first, but training comes before other things like… well, not training. I have no problem with wanting to spend an afternoon on the couch watching TV. In fact, I did just that after my Saturday morning mission. But the training comes first.
One of the reasons for that is I don’t want to end up like this person.
I did my first 50 mile ultra yesterday and today…. my legs feel like the muscle is eating themselves. Walking is extremely tuff mostly because my legs don’t want to bend.
After my first ultra I was sore. I think anyone at my level can expect that. My calves were a bit tight, and my legs and hips in general were a bit stiff, sore, and fatigued. But I was walking fine. I could get in and out of our hire car the next day fine. Flew home without any real discomfort. Got up and down our stairs at home that night okay. Went to work the following day a bit sore and tired, but otherwise fine.
I know that I have my training to thank for that. So I’m taking it seriously again this time around. This answer from another Reddit user sums it up well, I think:
And now to answer you actual question: if you can’t walk after a race, then you weren’t properly trained for it. It’s that simple.
Training covers many aspects; energy and efficiency are only one side of it, tissue damage resilience is the other. If your legs hurt intensely even though you had enough energy to power through, then your muscles and connective tissue simply weren’t ready yet. And the answer is to “harden the fuck up”, as the cycling community says – you need to train more. And by “more”, I mainly mean “for a longer period”, because building connective tissue strength takes a lot of time, and there aren’t really any shortcuts beyond putting in enough miles, creating diverse training stress, and doing enough strength work and strength-bound workouts.
Some more reading:
- To compress or not to compress? I wear and use compression gear, but perhaps not for the same reason as others. I don’t consider it a performance boost. Compression shorts help me prevent thigh chafing. Compression tops help me keep warm during Winter training. And, I trained and ran my first ultra with compression calf sleeves, because I was concerned about one of my calves and wanted to keep it warm during any aid station breaks. I also use compression post-workout on that same calf, and that seems to help recovery after long runs.
- How can I get rid of that pain in my butt cheek? I have struggled with some form of this for years. Regular stretching, foam rolling, strength work, and avoiding long periods of sitting, are what has worked for me.
- Optimizing fat metabolism for ultrarunning – This very, very long episode of KoopCast features Jeff Browning. Jason and Jeff have a long, friendly, and very detailed debate about the benefits of OFM (Optimized Fat Metabolism). Basically, a way of training your body to rely on fat burning instead of carbohydrates for endurance sports. I’m not sold on OFM, and don’t plan on trying it, but the debate was still fascinating and I gained some insight into how different types of athletes use nutrition strategically to achieve their performance goals.