Recovery is an essential part of any triathlete's training regimen. Not just recovery from hard workouts, but recovery from tough races as well. I needed to recover properly from my last race in order to get in good, quality workouts for IM training. The HIM was about a week and a half ago and only today do I feel that I've fully recovered from it.
I once heard somewhere that you should take a day off for every hour on the race course. It seems like a good general guideline, but I've found in my own personal experience that it's not quite realistic. For instance, I do not require a full day's rest after a hard sprint, which would take roughly an hour. In fact, I often times tack on an extra workout later in the day.
That said, I know a hard HIM will take several days to recover from. I did take 3 full days off (which is about my tolerance for inactivity), and after that it was just some light swimming and biking. Neither of those workouts felt good so I knew I needed to continue to keep everything light and the intensity low.
This week I finally was able to add a little mileage and intensity to the rides and feel good during and after. I added interval training back to the swim and ripped off some of my fastest 100's ever today at the pool.
The only thing that seemed to be taking forever to come around was the running. Every time I hit the road my calves would start to hurt and I would cut the run short. I eeked out 4 miles on Tuesday and was getting a little discouraged. It was taking my legs as long to come around as they did after my last marathon. So tonight's run I set off and told myself to head home as soon as things started getting sore. Surprisingly, I got through a couple of loops at the park without any unusual pain so I decided to keep plugging along. I ended up going 15 miles, which is what the training plan was calling for. I started to wilt in the heat the final 4 miles or so (which is sad because it was only 80 and it's going to get much worse this summer), but all in all it felt as good as any long run I normally do (ie the last few miles suck!).
We'll see how the legs respond tomorrow. They get a day off since I only have a swim on the schedule. After that I'm toying with the idea of doing a century on Saturday. We'll see if the legs (and my ass) are ready for that too!