I’m going to start with the end of August. If you check out the running log, you remember that last week’s long run was NOT a good one. I burned out after eight miles, and ended up walking much of the last part of my run. This week, a far better story. For the first time, I was able to complete a half marathon distance in under 2:30 (2:29:38, to be exact), and with zero walking along the way. It felt great! Right up to this moment:
I got this gem of an idea from TNT trainer Andy Haglin. I met Andy at a pub run that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted. While Andy was talking about recovery, in addition to emphasizing the importance of stretching after a long run, he also brought up ice baths. Andy followed up with me on some additional tips via email, and I’ve been putting the idea to use. After 13.45 miles, I stretched out, filled the tub with cold water, and with only a little bit of swearing under my breath, I got in.
Then I dumped in twelve trays worth of ice cubes.
My “cold” water is pretty cold. It comes from a New Hampshire well, then sits in a tank in my basement, which is also pretty cold. Getting in isn’t fun. I had to steel myself to dump the bin of ice in. I shivered. A lot. My friend Dale saw this picture and asked why I was turning myself into a cocktail.
The proof is in the pudding. After about fifteen minutes, I drained the tub, filled it with much warmer water, soaked for a bit and got the chills out, then stretched again. After that, I was ready for running errands and in general having a very productive day.
Old James would have said that any time you run more than two or three miles, you’re done for the day. Granted, I’ve run 250 miles in the last four months, but the ice bath really makes a difference in how I feel the rest of the day.
Anyhow – back to the successful run. Here’s what worked for me.
- Better stretching before the run
- Cooler weather
- Better job hydrating the night before and during the run
- Slower pacing
I used the RunKeeper app’s pace functionality to slow myself down. By keeping the pace closer to 12 minutes, I didn’t feel truly challenged until after twelve miles. It made a huge difference.
The day stayed positive, thanks to a treat from the British Beer Company. Yum…