I recently ran my first half-marathon October 12th and I still have not been able to get back into running! I had significant knee pain the last three miles and was pretty sore after the race, so I took it easy and tried to recover properly. I cross-train 5 days a week, spinning on MWF and a mixture of step aerobics and weight training on T-TH. I have done this routine since February and all throughout my half-marathon training, and I began again the following Monday, taking it easy, though. I was sore for an entire week, and I did not run at all. I tried soaking in epsom salt baths and taking short walks to stretch my muscles out. The following weekend, I went on a road trip, driving 12-15 hours a day for two days, so I was very sedentary. I was told on November 9th that my knee pain was probably caused by tight IT bands,so I have continued the soaking, foam rolling, and stretching to loosen them up. I discovered that if I walk for a mile first, then stretch, I can run for two after with no pain. So nearly two months after my half-marathon, I can only run 3 miles at a time, if I am careful. I am also becoming increasingly weaker during my cross-training, with no strength or stamina at all. Things that we once very easy for me, I cannot do. And within the last week, I have developed pain in the arch of my right foot anytime I stretch my legs. Help? I feelvery weak and tired just sitting here and I really don't know what to do about it
There's a catch-phrase circulating out there that comes to mind when I see an aggressive training schedule like yours. Train "like you mean it" would be an example. Just remember that while some professionals start out with grueling training schedules, it doesn't follow that everyone who uses the same strategy will be shaped into a pro. More often than not, such training exceeds the athlete's ability to recover, and breaks them down faster than it builds them up.
The building, of course, is going to come from your body's immune system, which is most active when you are at rest. Spending too much time challenging it, and not enough time letting it do its work, may seem like a one-way ticket to the kind of dysfunction you are experiencing. It may seem as if you are broken, and that something is wrong with your body, but it is most likely a case of high expectations meeting reality.
The difference between pros and the rest of us is how quickly and how well they can recover from what they ask of themselves. Their reality is different, by genetics and gradual conditioning.
You can bounce back from this, but you need to give back the recovery time your schedule has been taking away. This formula is unique to every individual (your results may vary), but I have no doubt you will find it and progress will again be possible. First, some rest, followed by an evaluation of how your training schedule has been affecting you in particular, and how to re-shape it into something more realistic.
Health and training professionals can be good for this, but be aware there are a few professionals out there who may see your driven lifestyle as a gold mine. As far as training goes, it's better to live to fight another day, than to push yourself past your sustainable limits. Remember that a schedule that does not bother you can actually become harmful when a few races are thrown into the mix. These all-out contests may not feel like all you can do, but the excitement of the moment often blinds us to how much we've asked of ourselves.
Most of the time, a race will be longer, faster, or with more sustained effort than the training leading up to it. The difference between a pro and the rest of us may be that this is taken into account when training and racing. The effort and total recovery time has to be adjusted for give and take. There is no free lunch. If you want to train too hard, you'll have to race easier, and if you want a great race, you'll have to train a little lighter. What amazes us about the pros, is that their performance level is so high, it almost looks easy. They could go farther and faster if it was sustainable, but the balance shifts toward the training. Just allow for the fact that the high level at which they train can coexist with a race that is out of reach for most of us, yet the total is within their ability to recover.
You've found your limits. Now it's time to craft a program that works within those limits (and possibly expand them). It may not be comfortable, but has to be sustainable. When the current limits are exceeded, you will have to give back. You are correct that the brief period of sedentary activity, though necessary, was counterproductive. Whenever that happens, don't try to make up for lost time. You will have to gradually regain the lost fitness, or risk overdriving your de-conditioned body.
Remedial work can be too aggressive, as well. More rolling and stretching is not necessarily going to speed recovery proportionately. Too much can even slow you down.
I don't think you did anything wrong, just did too much of some things. I also don't think there is anything wrong that won't fix itself, but time has to be allowed for this. We've all been there. Welcome to the club, and good luck with your recovery.
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