Ever since I moved back to San Diego on February 1 I have been struggling with post-exercise recovery. For a while I was just struggling with my running in general. I've gotten past that period of malaise and am now performing reasonably well in my planned hard workouts, but I am still feeling much crappier and running much more slowly than I am accustomed to doing in the recovery runs that I complete 24 hours after each hard run. Two days ago, however, I stumbled upon an embarrasingly obvious likely explanation for the pattern.
On that day I did a hard session of 300-meter intevals on the track. I started the workout at about 4:30 pm. As soon as I finished, I drove straight home to meet up with my wife and a couple of friends and head out to a restaurant for dinner. By the time I put the first bite of appetizer in my mouth it was nearly 7:30, more than two hours after I had completed my run. This is not good, I thought. If I had a nickel for every time I have written about the importance of consuming protein, carbs and fluid within the first two hours
and ideally within the first hourafter completing a workout I could retire. Research has shown that athletes who wait too long to nourish themselves after training seriously compromise their physiological recovery processes and sabotage their performance in the next day's training. So I kicked myself for failing to drink some Endurox R4 or get some other kind of appropriate post-workout nutrition fix after leaving the track.
In the next moment I suddenly realized that I had been neglecting my recovry nutrition after every weekday run since returning to office work 10 weeks earlier. Before the move I was doing my main workout of the day at 10 or 11 am and eating lunch immediately afterward. My second workout, on days when I doubled up, took place in the evening. But since relocating I had moved my secondary workout to the early morning and pushed my main workout back to the late afternoon. My unthinking routine after these runs has been to commute back home, shower and then eat dinner. Even on a typical day when I eat dinner at home with my wife, I don't eat until 90 minutes after completing my run.
This oversight could easily explain the better part of the sluggishness I have been feeling in my recovery runs. It's not the sort of mistake a person in my position should make. I've been encouraging other endurance athletes to "drink the Kool-Aid" of post-workout nutrition for years. But where has my cup been in the past 10 weeks? Embarrassed as I am, I'm also relieved, because a solution to what had been a mystery problem until two days ago is now at hand. I'm hitting the track again this afternoon and my Endurox R4 is ready to go.