I was at the lake this morning doing an open water swim with my sister and met a lifeguard who saw my Ironman Finisher Hat and was asking me questions about my race and my recovery. He said, "Are you still recovering since it takes one day for every mile you ran in the race to recover?"
I forgot about this rule. I had heard it before- If you run a 5K, you should take 3 days to recover, if you run a 10K, you should take 6 days to recover. And if you run a marathon, take 26 days to recover. This seems a bit excessive to me. What does this rule mean by recovery? Does it mean do nothing for that period of time or just take it easy and don't race again in that time? Or just that you'll still feel the effects of the race for this long.
And what about an Ironman, with this thought process an Ironman would take 140 days to recover from or does this rule work the same with a triathlon?
I have also heard the rule to take 1 day off for every hour it takes you to do the race. This seems a little more realistic and might be a good rule of thumb. For a Half Ironman you'll end up taking under a week off, an Ironman about 2 weeks off.
My body felt pretty good a couple days after my race. I didn't have too much soreness and felt pretty good. I did take that week after completely off and then I lifted weights and did a run about one week after the race and felt fine. Then my husband and I went on vacation so my training was sporadic but I did get a few weight training workouts in and a couple runs in. Overall, my volume was much lower than it had been. Now over a month after my body feels good, I have been lifting weights three times a week and doing intervals twice a week along with one long bike ride a week.
I think recovery is very individual and it also depends on how your training was before the race. If your body was ready for the race, the damage should be less than if you aren't ready.
I think I'll stick with the 1 day off per hour the race took rule which makes the most sense to me when it comes to advising my athletes and my future races. This is a good starting point but then can be changed according to the athlete.
I have an Olympic distance race next weekend, 6 weeks after my Ironman, we'll see how it goes....