My ear infection is stubborn as I am and it is not moving out. It was fine during the marathon, but flared up the day after. I was at my ENT doc yesterday and he put me on different medication. Apparently I am not responding properly to those antibiotics that he had prescribed before. This totally sucks now as I am losing more and more fitness every day. Right now my left ear is still draining fluids and that makes it very uncomfortable to do anything fitness related. I am also still having extra pressure on the head when leaning down to pick something up from the floor as an example.
Depending on how things go over the weekend I will either return to my Kosama workouts or at least hit the gym and get onto a bike to do something. Sitting still not doing anything really bothers me and I hope my body is finally getting rid of this stupid infection.
Next week Thursday is the local Turkey trot which is not really a race and it should be an easy run. My 8 year old son is extremely excited about it and I just wish I could have put in a few more training runs with him. He asked me quite often about going for a run, but I have this ear infection and so this just has not worked out yet. I am also scheduled to run a half marathon in 2 weeks and by then I really hope to be back up and literally running. I will be off from work the entire next week which is really nice and getting some extra rest should help to kick the ear infection out. Keeping my fingers crossed.
The holidays are here. Thanksgiving is the start into the busy season of shopping and preparing the house for Christmas. Next weekend I will go up on the roof to hook up the Christmas lights at our house. We had some snow yesterday, but by then it will be all melted away. Just have to keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Marathon Recovery Tips
I was a bit sore until Wednesday, but now I am feeling just fine. The legs feel good and my mind is getting restless to get some running in. I did not do anything special other than stretching and taking a cold-water bath after the marathon and overall the recovery went pretty well. I am sure I would have been less sore if I would have had a proper taper period with running and Kosama workouts. I also would have liked to go out for a recovery run, but the “re-vitalized” ear infection just did not let me. Here are some additional tips on what you can do to recover more easily from a marathon.
Refuel: The first thing you need to do after your marathon is to start the refueling process. Most marathon organizers have recovery food and drinks prepared. When you get over the finish line you usually get water or Gatorade or other related fluids (chocolate milk as an example). They might offer fruits, power bars/protein bars, and of course bagels as well. Make sure you grab some food and drink to help your body. I usually cannot eat right after a long run and so I stick to fluids. After the Las Vegas marathon I had 3 chocolate milk drinks and some Gatorade. I skipped the Apples that they offered, but took a bag of bagels with me for later consumption.
Wear compression tights or socks. They have shown in studies to reduce swelling especially in people who ran marathon or even longer distances. Compression increases the blood flow which in return will help to flush out lactic-acid that has built up during your run. Some runners also reported that they wear compression gear to help against shin pain. I did not have any compression gear with me in Las Vegas other than a pair of compression shorts which I was wearing during the run. The compression shorts are great against chaffing and that is the main reason I wear them. I also like that the “important” body parts in that area do not bounce around. If you’re a guy you will know what I mean. Getting some compression socks is something that is on my list of items I want to buy one day (I am just too cheap to justify the expense at the moment).
Stretching and Massage: While you might be tempted to get a good massage in shortly after a long run, the main recommendation from experts is to wait about 24 hours before getting a massage. However, get some good stretching done within 2-3 hours after the race. It will definitely help with feeling sore the next day. Using a foam roller to break up muscle tensions is also a great way for a speedy recovery. I did do a lot of stretching after my marathon, but did not bring a foam roller with me.
Ice Bath after the Marathon: Taking an ice bath within 2 hours after a long run or marathon has helped me a lot to feel better. An ice bath is supposed to constrict blood vessels, flush out waste products like lactic acid and reduce swelling and muscle tissue breakdown. You could use ice-packs as well, but their benefit is concentrated to a small local area on your legs while an ice bath would cover your entire lower body. I have done ice-cold water baths after long runs, but never did do an ice bath. However, the cold water supply at my house provides very cold water – even in summer and I always felt refreshed after doing it and think that it helped with my recovery.
Pain Killers: A lot of marathon runners actually take some pain killers before a marathon and probably more take them right after. I heard different stories about this – especially if taking pain killers would conflict with the normal recovery of your body. I think this step is personal preference. I usually wait a few hours and then decide if I need some Advil or so. Since I ran the Las Vegas marathon with a (then) retreating ear infection I had actually planned to take some Advil before the race, but then totally forgot about it and did not need it during the race. I do kind of think you need to feel the pain in your legs so that you can listen to your body and respond appropriately if there are issues. I took some Advil PM after the marathon for sleeping because my medicine keeps me awake otherwise. I would have not taken it if I would have been healthy, but some medications have side-effects of keeping you awake and I had to drive back 800 miles the next day and needed enough sleep for safe driving.
Rest: Give yourself enough rest days after running 26.2 miles. A short recovery run the next day or the second day after the race is fine, but other than that give your body a break. Some experts say that you should let your body recovery for 2-4 weeks, but I think this is excessive and you would lose a lot of fitness. Depending on your race schedule I recommend a week of rest and then slowly get back into normal running. This might be different if you have back to back races or plan to race again within a few weeks after your marathon. Listen to your body and adjust.