It is now 2? weeks since Ironman UK so it’s a good time to review my recovery and plan my next adventure. This being my 5th Ironman I had a good idea of what to expect and this time around was no different:
1-3 hours: ? Depressed appetite, shivers, elevated temperature. (Try to eat and drink – soup works for me; take a dose of paracetamol; use a foil recovery blanket to keep warm);
3- 48 hours: ? Disrupted sleep, muscle soreness, returning appetite. (Eat and drink as healthily as possible – lots of fresh fruit and veg; try to keep moving);
2 days to 3 weeks: ? Sleep returns to normal, start training again, occasionally feeling tired and lethargic, slight post race depression. (Continue healthy eating; take naps when able; shorter training sessions; plan next event to have a new target to aim at).
In the immediate aftermath of the race I had some pain behind my right knee which I think is a mild case of tendinitis. It made the immediate phase of muscle soreness a little worse than normal and it wasn’t until the Friday after that I felt able to go out for an exploratory bike ride. That felt good, so one week on I went for a 10k run. Surprisingly, I felt able to run pretty much at normal pace and felt quite strong. Encouraged by this I went out for the next few nights?alternating cycling and running culminating in the Scorton Supper Run, a flat 5 mile local road race organised by a fellow member of COLT who I wanted to support. There were quite a few other COLTs on the start line and I knew that as soon as the whistle sounded I’d push much harder than I had so far. I ended up finishing 25th out of 98 at an average pace of 4 mins 44 secs per kilometre which is pretty much as fast as I can run these days. This was not what I expected and even though I was comprehensively beaten by fellow Ironman, Billy Winn, I was much higher up the field than anticipated. I expected really sore legs the day after, but they did not materialise,?meaning that I was able to go out for a solid hilly two hours on the bike that weekend. This is a much better recovery than I’ve managed after previous Ironman races, although I’m still getting overwhelming urges to take a nap at times so I need to be careful not to push too hard, too soon. Possibly the best bit of news is that because I have started training again and have maintained a healthy diet, I am still the same weight as on race day. In the past, post race celebration coupled with training downtime has resulted in a pretty rapid weight gain. Before I get too ahead of myself and think I am invincible, I was brought down to earth by yesterday’s run which was really tough and although my time splits were ok, it felt a real struggle. Perhaps it was a bit of a reality check before I overstretched myself and did something really foolish.
What’s next? My first thought was that perhaps I could do 2 Ironman races in the same season and seriously looked at Ironman Weymouth which is still open for entries. However, I think that yesterday’s run put the tin lid on that idea. Right now, although I feel my recovery has gone well I don’t think I could ride 100 miles quickly and with only 5? weeks to raceday I would need to be back on it fully for the next 3 weeks at least. This leaves the 70.3 race on the same day as an option. Alternatively, I could try a new race such as the Kielder Reiver Triathlon, a middle distance race in Northumberland which would be considerably cheaper than the Ironman 70.3 Weymouth. It’s also a week later (September 18th) giving me a week extra recovery and training time. The last option is to go abroad and do the Llanes middle distance triathlon?(the same day as the Reiver). This appeals to me enormously because it is held in the town that my mum grew up in and have visited countless times on family holidays. The beaches and mountains are fantastic and it’s an easy jump on Easyjet to Bilbao or Asturias airport. Although it will be the most expensive of the three options I’m seriously tempted. The picture below is of just one of the extraordinary beaches in this part of Spain. I’m off to do some budget planning!