I happened on something very surprising over the last month or so. Something that I’d taken for granted. Something that allows me to recover from a long run in hours rather than days…
I have gotten myself into a crazy little pattern, I’m trail running every other Sunday and it just so happens that on the same Sunday I bowl in the evening (I bowl in a long league – September to April, every other Sunday). I’ve gone to bowling the last two times sore and tired from the run. Four weeks ago I just ran, napped and went bowling. I was miserable. Two weeks ago I tried something different. After my run I came home and went out for a ride – just a short little five miler with Mrs. Bgddy and felt immensely better but still had a tough time with stiffness in my hips.
Yesterday, I hit the running recovery jackpot by chance. I’ve been running more lately so the recovery time has been getting better slowly anyway, but yesterday I increased from six to nine miles and on a mountain bike trail to boot – an increase of 33% and technically a no-no (they say a 10% increase at a time)… I’m in good enough shape to bend the rules from time to time though. To coincide with my anniversary, I decided I wanted to do one mile per year, so after my run Mrs. Bgddy and I went for an 11 mile ride on the fat-tire bikes. The first mile was rough, and the second and third weren’t much better – but by the fourth and fifth I started noticing that I was loosening up quite a bit. By the eighth and ninth miles I felt like a new man and in the 10th and 11th I was felt better than I did before I went running in the first place – and my bowling scores showed it – I ended up with a first game 182, a second game 206 and then tanked my third game because I was exhausted – I ended with a 154. Two weeks ago my scores weren’t all that bad but they were absolutely worse and then four weeks ago it was like I’d never thrown a bowling ball.
I’ve been riding after my long runs for two years now – generally I ride 12 miles down to the running club, run and then ride 18 miles back home (I ride the long way home)… In all that time I never once realized that riding after the run helped my recovery from the run – it hardly makes sense, especially considering that my ride home was farther and usually quite a bit faster than my ride to the running club, but after yesterday I have to say that my experience shows a conclusive result: I heal up faster if I ride after I run, there’s no doubt about it.