I took a full rest day yesterday after the ultra marathon with my mom. I needed it. I would always think, “it’s just walking, right?” I mean how hard could it be. How could I possibly feel immobile the day after “a walk”? No matter how you do it, run, walk, crawl, hobble… 27.38 miles is a LONG way and you will inevitably be sore after. In some ways walking is harder than running! My mom and I walk pretty fast and you use different muscles than running! Unless you are Dean Karnazes, a ultra marathon is no easy feat.
The fact that I threw a six-hour walk into the middle of my marathon training means I have had to adjust some of my pre-planning workouts to accommodate some rest and recovery. Instead of pushing myself past my breaking point, I have tried to be pretty proactive in preventing injury. Taking a look at today’s forecast, I knew it was going to be a treadmill kind of day.
I stepped on the treadmill, slowly increased my speed, and started to run. It was then I realized that walking may require more recovery than running. My calves, my lower IT band, and my shins were not feeling too hot… or they were too hot… I’m not sure, but they felt kind of like elastic bands stretched to the max. I kept my pace super light and hoped that a little run would loosen things up.
I ran for an hour. At the speed I was going I thought my final distance was going to be about 2.3 miles. I did a total of almost 7 miles, watched Cash Cab and tried to get as many questions right as I could, and then stopped running because I was sure my IT bands were going to snap at any moment. Those apparently don’t “loosen up” on the run!
After a short cool down walk, I headed to my favourite post-run gym activity ever… the leg press. This thing feels like magic on my legs after running. I do one leg at a time, getting a good stretch in my calves and hamstrings. Note: When doing the leg press one leg at a time, don’t place your one leg in the centre, place it where it would normally go if you were using two legs! Once I have done at least three sets on each leg, I use both legs and press super slowly, 4 seconds down, 4 seconds up. Feel the burn.
After that I did 40 minutes of arms and chest and a much needed 10 minutes of stretching and foam rolling. The foam rolling was more painful than walking a half marathon after eating a giant plate of nachos. I made sure to ice my legs a bit when I got home. I wish I had had ice packs at the end of our walk because that would have helped take down some inflammation in my legs after 6 hours of moving!
It always amazes me that even walking long distances can wreak havoc on the body. That kind of reminds me how effective walking can be as exercise. When my mom and I walked a few marathons and ultra marathons, I would always quietly add “…but we walked it” to the sentence “My mom and I did a marathon…” when I would tell people about our accomplishment. Somehow I thought walking made the achievement less authentic but a marathon is a marathon and no matter how you get to the finish line. You did the exact same thing as the elites, same distance, same accomplishment. Somehow I thought 27.38 miles walking wouldn’t stress my body out too much but I was so wrong! Today’s run hopefully loosened things up a bit and will help me ease back into the final month of marathon training!
Have you ever walked a race?
Opinion: 26.2 miles, is everyone’s accomplishment the same?