50M Training, Week 1: Recovery Week from Palo Duro 50K

The first few days after a long distance race are nice. You can sit back and revel in your accomplishment, bask in the happy afterglow of a job well done, and reward yourself with rest, good food, and memories of the event. Then by the end of the week you may start to feel the urge to get outdoors and run again. At least, that’s how it usually goes for me.

I generally seem to be able to run a few miles by Wednesday or Thursday after a marathon, and by Saturday I’m good to go for a longer distance. This time, after running a 50K for the first time, the recovery time has definitely been longer. My quads took the brunt of the race and they have not been bouncing back as quickly as I expected. Patience is not always one of my strengths, so giving them the time they need to recover has been a challenging lesson.

MON: Rest Day – Quads are very sore from Saturday’s 50K race in Palo Duro Canyon, though they feel better than after any marathon I’ve run. Going to enjoy my day of sloth and do nothing athletic.

TUE: Walk – 2 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Legs felt much better today, though the quads are still sore. Did some yoga in the late afternoon (hip openers), then took Nevada for a 2 mile walk, hoping to run most of it. Ha! I couldn’t even run a block! The quads definitely need another day of rest. On another note, I can’t help but wonder why it’s so warm and humid when it’s the end of October??? Oh, right, we live in Texas.

WED: Yoga (20:00)  – Quads felt even better this morning, so I started the day with some easy yoga but decided to put off running for another day.

THU: Rest Day – Decided to take a complete rest day and do nothing athletic. My quads are taking longer to recover than I expected. Even though my legs feel better than after a marathon, the soreness in my quads seems to go deeper than usual–if that makes sense.

FRI: Run – 3.1 mi, Yoga (20:00) – Met Todd at 6:00am for an easy 3 mile run at the lake. I’m amazed that my quads are still sore. I was able to run, and keep an easy pace, but I’m not where I expected to be six days after the race. This has definitely been the most recovery I’ve ever needed after a race, which I guess is only fitting since it’s also my longest distance. I think my age is also showing, because Hari has already been running for days, but it could also partly be due to the two weeks of no running just before the race. This is a good reminder that I need to do more squats, lunges, and strength training to get in shape for the 50 miler. On a brighter note, loving the cold front that blew in last night and the 49 degrees for our run this morning.

SAT: Run – 4 mi – Quads are slowly coming back. Susan and Hari met at my house at 6:30 and we ran to the top of the Katy Trail for the 13.1 Marathon WRRC water stop. It was cold! I ran with my down jacket tied around my waist and my water backpack (sans water) stuffed with extra gloves and track pants. Toes and fingers were freezing all morning. After the race, we de-layered and ran back down the Katy Trail and across Knox/Henderson to the house. We must have looked like we were coming back from an arctic expedition.

Erwin Park, McKinney Run

Susan and Me at Erwin Park, photo by Hari Garimella

SUN: Trail Run – 8.25 mi – Ran at Erwin Park in McKinney with Susan and Hari. Started at 7:30am with frost on the ground. The temperature and weather couldn’t have been more perfect. THIS is what we dreamed of all summer when it was in the upper 90’s with 80% humidity. Despite the great weather and nice trails, I felt sleepy and my quads were still stiff and sore. I looked forward to trail running all week, so it was disappointing to feel so sluggish. Overall, I just felt tired. Maybe it’s residual tiredness from the 50K a week ago, or three days straight of getting up early and not getting enough sleep, or the music from the party across the alley–or a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, I was happy to only run 8.25 miles. Sadly, my happy afterglow from the race seems to have finally worn off. Back to a new training plan and life in general.

STATS for WEEK 1: Run – 15.2 miles, Walk – 2 miles, Yoga – 1:00:00


  1. iRuniBreathe

    Life in general does come back at you after the race-day glow wears off. I found this is a good time to try some different exercise, or at least re-assess my training plans and see where I can (if I need to) vary things a little. I know you’ve got the 50 miler coming up, but maybe there are things you’d like to change this time around?
    The quads will loosen up. Have you been foam rolling? Epson salt bath?
    Hurray for cooler temps at last!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I’m taking the time to think about tweaking my next training plan, adding more hills, more core and strength training, and regular tempo runs. I have been doing a little foam rolling (not enough–it hurts!). I’ve never found Epsom salt baths to make any difference.
      I’m also enjoying slowing down and getting some reading done. There never seems to be enough time to read! I’m going to take a nice, relaxing walk this afternoon with one of the dogs and enjoy this glorious fall weather. Strange that we don’t have a cloud in the sky and the East Coast is going through something completely different!

      • iRuniBreathe

        Apparently the epsom salts are supposed to help leach out the toxins in your muscles to help recovery. I don’t think you *feel* different, but you may recover faster.
        Keep up with the foam rolling — it’s a delicious pain!

        Taking time to slow down and recover and re-assess sounds great. Enjoy this lovely weather… and many good books!

      • Mind Margins/Run Nature

        I have a friend who swears by Epsom salts, but I’ve honestly never noticed it helping with recovery. If it’s good for my garden, though, it must be good for me, too! Foam rolling is a masochistic pleasure, isn’t it? Hurts so good . . .

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      It’s never too late, Ribs. Our trails around town are somewhat claustrophobic and precarious (with all the roots and stumps), but running a race through a canyon does the soul good. If you ever get the chance to visit Palo Duro Canyon, you should do some running out there. I think you’d really like it.

  2. MikeW

    Congrats again on your first Ultra! Re-read your About page. You mention the Ultra in the past when you signed up. Great statement and state of being, and still in you to draw from, always will be.

    Just thinking about your recovery essay on Palo Duro and it made me think of someone I saw last week. While at the rec center pool, I notice a swim stroke in my peripheral vision that looked strange. That’s because he wasn’t swimming, he was aqua running.

    First, I found a Youtube with a female marathon trainer aqua running to a good song:

    Also found some literature:


    Looks promising and legit. What do you think as a running coach?

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks for reminding me to update my About page.
      I’ve never done any pool running, but I have a lot of friends who’ve done it when they were injured. Also, a friend talked to a local elite trail runner who says she does pool running once a week to stave off injury because of her high mileage. I’m sure it’s great cross training. Honestly, I’ve never been that interested because it looks boring. I hate treadmill running and think pool running is similar. I’d rather be outdoors! I’ve always thought I would do it if I was injured, but thankfully that hasn’t been necessary.
      I’ve also heard of trail runners doing Stair Master once a week, which I think I would like to try. My quads took a beating in the 50K, so I know I need to strengthen them up for the next race.

      • MikeW

        Yep, I’d read a mixture of runner reviews on the boredom issue.

        Multi-dimensional water resistance to running specific movement was cited by some as a training boon. Others found it too boring. On a 100 plus degree day in DFW w/ high ozone, who knows? 800 times denser than air, water provides 12 times the resistance to air for all movements.

  3. AndrewGills

    Are you going to use UltraLadies again for the 50M training?

    I reckon a few weeks off is a good idea. It’ll give you a chance to fully recover.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      We are actually going to use a different plan this time. I’m sure we’ll modify it somewhat, especially since we have a short turn-around time. I took most of last week off from running, and will keep the mileage low again this week. The quads are feeling MUCH better!

  4. SeniorRunner

    What? Only a one week afterglow?
    Just kidding… I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon, a kind of “post-race depression,” after a major training effort that has been in focus for a long time. It will pass as you get going on your next biggie, which is really just around the corner.
    BTW, thanks for visiting my Des Moines race report!

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      The “post race blues” only lasted one day, so I can’t complain. Now I’m focused on the next race because, as you say, it’s just around the corner.
      I don’t know how to get email notifications when you post on Runner’s World, so I seem to miss a lot of your posts. I’ll try to be better, I promise!

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