General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Ironman recovery...when does it come? Rss Feed  
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2015-08-27 10:00 AM

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Subject: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
I finished my first Ironman about a week and a half ago (IMMT). It was of course an amazing day, though it went wildly off plan. I expected a 13-14 hour finish and finished in 16:11. Long story short, VERY EARLY on the bike (around mile 16), I stopped being able to eat. Anything I tried to get down (including water) made me gag violently. No idea why -- I had done several training rides over 100 miles at the same pace, similar hills, in hotter weather, with the exact same nutrition plan, and had never had problems. (Also I usually have a very strong stomach. I once ate two slices of pizza during a marathon.) As I only managed about 300 calories total for the entire 112 miles, and not nearly enough water, I bonked hard on the bike, made the bike cutoff by ten minutes, walked a lot of the marathon and earned myself a trip to the med tent after the finish line.

I took four days off completely, and then started doing roughly 45 minutes of EASY running or swimming a day. I'm not sore anymore, but I am exhausted and feel like I'm dragging myself through each day. How long post-Ironman should it take to get back to feeling like a normal human being?


2015-08-27 10:10 AM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?

For me, it was easily 3-4 weeks before I felt like I could do similar activities.  You sound like you had a pretty rough time which might make recovery take even longer.  

My suggestion is to not rush anything at all, get as much sleep as you can.

2015-08-27 10:18 AM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?

For me it was about 6 weeks before I felt normal physically and mentally I was drained for about the same amount of time. I had zero desire to S/B/R afterwards and I knew I was recovered when I looked forward to running again!  LOL

2015-08-27 10:18 AM
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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?

double post



Edited by jford2309 2015-08-27 10:20 AM
2015-08-27 10:28 AM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
I was running again after 3 days, probably about 7 to 10 days before feeling normal(regular paces) again. I was racing again after 3 weeks.
2015-08-27 11:10 AM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
My first was around a month, I wasn't sore but fatigued and HR was elevated for weeks during easy workouts.

The 2nd and 3rd was a little less than 3 full weeks. I was much more fit at that point.


2015-08-27 12:27 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Originally posted by meggfishy

I finished my first Ironman about a week and a half ago (IMMT). It was of course an amazing day, though it went wildly off plan. I expected a 13-14 hour finish and finished in 16:11. Long story short, VERY EARLY on the bike (around mile 16), I stopped being able to eat. Anything I tried to get down (including water) made me gag violently. No idea why -- I had done several training rides over 100 miles at the same pace, similar hills, in hotter weather, with the exact same nutrition plan, and had never had problems. (Also I usually have a very strong stomach. I once ate two slices of pizza during a marathon.) As I only managed about 300 calories total for the entire 112 miles, and not nearly enough water, I bonked hard on the bike, made the bike cutoff by ten minutes, walked a lot of the marathon and earned myself a trip to the med tent after the finish line.

I took four days off completely, and then started doing roughly 45 minutes of EASY running or swimming a day. I'm not sore anymore, but I am exhausted and feel like I'm dragging myself through each day. How long post-Ironman should it take to get back to feeling like a normal human being?


Meg,

It took me a solid 2 weeks before I felt like I could run again. I did hop in the pool a few times just because it was still summer and I wanted to be active. I am still dealing with a mental block on the bike post IM which means I really don't want to get on my bike at all, ever. I took this year off from Triathlon to try some new things and that has helped and also helped get me back into wanting to train for triathlons. I think it is an individual thing but not uncommon to go a few weeks before you feel normal. I am sure your fitness will come back before you know it.

Also- I just want to say CONGRATS!! on finishing the race. I knew you could do it and I am happy that you accomplished your goal. I am sorry to hear about your day but way to persevere and finish strong. How did you like IMMT? enjoy the venue and city? and of course we need to ask....Any plans to do another one???
2015-08-27 1:11 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Some things to think about....

The fewer IM's you have done, or the less "base" (training load) of training you have going in the longer it will take to recovery. Keep in mind that the 72 hours post race can be crucial to setting the tone of your recovery. Eat, sleep, and rest the body well and your recovery will be good. Do lots of travel, activity, eat poorly, don't sleep, etc you'll continue to dig yourself in a hole.

It's really important to remember that feeling good doesn't mean you body is recovered. It takes time for your muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments, hormones, etc to get back in line and reach an equilibrium.

Because of your situation and going through most of the day calorically depleted that should be the focus on your recovery. Since it sounds like you walked a great deal of the run, the impact from the run won't be as great if you did. That said, you still need to let your body recovery from the physical damage and start the healing process.

How much are you sleeping now? Are you waking up to your alarm or is it a struggle?

What is your appetite like?

Where is your weight now compared to race morning, what about 3 weeks out from the race?

It isn't as important to focus on the duration or days of your recovery BUT when you do each day and how you recover your body that will help indicate when you are ready to get back intro training.
2015-08-27 2:46 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
congrats on finishing IMMT.

Well...it takes awhile to recover from that. Best thing is sleep !

I'd focus on swimming and spin on the bike. Short mellow runs if you feel like it.

It will take a month at least to feel back to normal, maybe more. Usually for me I feel good the first week after the race, and then it hits me.
2015-08-27 4:31 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?

Congrats on finishing the race.  

How long to feel like a human again?  Depends a lot on the race itself and what you do.  I've done 3 and each has been a little different.  

IMCdA (2009):  Finished in 13:38 after crashing on the bike.  Spent the next morning getting x-rays then most of the week driving from Idaho to Illinois with a couple days walking around Yellowstone.  Getting in and out of the car Tuesday-Wednesday was tough.  About 3 weeks post-race I was back to running 5-10 miles (my running partner took it easy on me, these were easy runs).  Even then, I could feel a lot of fatigue, so no hard accelerations.  The forced hiatus lasted 6 weeks before I was cleared to bike/swim.  

Vineman (2011):  Finished in 12:43 without crashing.    Got up and went for a short 3-mile run the next morning and the second day after.  Spent a couple days walking in Yosemite and SF.  Was back to easy workouts when we got back from the trip, but still nothing peppy.  

B2B (2014):  Finished in 12:20.  Took a few days off and then started back with some easy running.  Didn't really do much to see how quickly I could recover.  

In all 3 cases, eating well, staying hydrated, and getting a good night's sleep really helped the healing process.  

I've done some ultra-marathons, and the fatigue from that shows up for several weeks also.  I wouldn't feel "bad" but would tire sooner and just not have any power (climbing hills, riding into the wind, or just trying to push a faster pace on the bike or on foot) for about a month.  

2015-08-28 9:24 AM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
I've done 3 IMs and I always take the 2 weeks after completely off. Nothing except for maybe some walking and arm curls (beer), and if I'm antsy, MAYBE a very easy bike ride. The month after is usually full of easy stuff. Listen to your body. I would have mornings where I woke up feeling like I could go to swim practice and I hit the pool and my body gave me the middle finger, and I got out early. Usually takes me a month to get back into a routine and 1.5-2 months before I feel like I can do speed work or race at a high intensity.

Basically, you demanded a lot of your body during training and your IM. Give it some love, listen to it, and take it easy for a bit. You deserve it.


2015-08-29 6:42 PM
in reply to: #5137182

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Finished IM Boulder about a month ago. Doing some regular workouts but still feel a bit tired during workouts (and slow). Swimming has been the best in terms of recovery. Getting back on the bike has been the hardest.
2015-08-30 12:17 PM
in reply to: #5137559

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
About 6 weeks to return to normal for me. I take 2 weeks completely off after IMs and marathons.
2015-08-30 1:23 PM
in reply to: jarvy01

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
I also did IMMT. We traveled to Europe a few days after IMMT and I ran every day while there, but only 3-5 miles and at a very very easy pace. First real workout was two days ago. Have done double sessions the past few days. Bike legs are normal, run HR is about 5 beats higher than normal - did 10 miles this am - swim feels like crap.

I think recovery is very different for everyone depending on base and pace during the race. I think one thing that helped me out was trying to move around a lot - legs naturally feel like crap, but moving them - even if it's a nice long walk - really helps out. Don't worry about pace or intensity for a while unless you have another race pretty soon.
2015-08-31 7:39 AM
in reply to: jarvy01

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
All of this does't bode well for me. I just finished IM Muskoka. I now have to drive 1900km to get home. Then I go to work for 10 days then I am back on the road for the 2900km drive to IM Lake Tahoe. 2 Ironmans in 3 weeks sounded like a good idea at the time. It will end up being 3 Ironman races in 13 weeks for me this year.
2015-09-03 10:15 AM
in reply to: dmbfan4life20

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Originally posted by dmbfan4life20

Also- I just want to say CONGRATS!! on finishing the race. I knew you could do it and I am happy that you accomplished your goal. I am sorry to hear about your day but way to persevere and finish strong. How did you like IMMT? enjoy the venue and city? and of course we need to ask....Any plans to do another one???


Thank you! Mont-Tremblant was an amazing venue…I really wanted to go back for the HIM next year but it's already sold out. My stock response when people ask if I'll do another IM has been NOOOOOOOO NOOOOOOO, but I'm starting to think that the 16-hour finish will eat at me once I've forgotten how painful it was.


2015-09-03 12:13 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Congrats on finishing, despite the issues. Ironman is about perseverance, so you have that down pat!

It usually takes me 3 weeks to feel normal after an Ironman, but what I do is the following:

Post Ironman
------------------
First week: no bike, no run, swim a few times, rolling of sore muscles, rest, eat well
Second week: 2-3 easy swims, 2-3 easy 30 min spins, continue to roll out muscles, rest, eat well
Third week: 2-3 easy swims, 2-3 30-45 min spins, a few easy and short runs (max of 2)
Fourth week: I'm good to go...

Good luck! I hope you feel better and kill the next one!
2015-09-03 12:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Nothing to see here...Move along.

Edited by d00d 2015-09-03 12:29 PM
2015-09-03 12:15 PM
in reply to: d00d

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?

It comes when it comes. 

There are just so many variables from your base and fitness level to the conditions and efforts at the race as well as outside factors.

 

I'd just keep taking it easy and going by feel and don't force anything. There is no magic formula.

2015-09-03 1:04 PM
in reply to: meggfishy

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Subject: RE: Ironman recovery...when does it come?
Originally posted by meggfishy

Originally posted by dmbfan4life20

Also- I just want to say CONGRATS!! on finishing the race. I knew you could do it and I am happy that you accomplished your goal. I am sorry to hear about your day but way to persevere and finish strong. How did you like IMMT? enjoy the venue and city? and of course we need to ask....Any plans to do another one???


Thank you! Mont-Tremblant was an amazing venue…I really wanted to go back for the HIM next year but it's already sold out. My stock response when people ask if I'll do another IM has been NOOOOOOOO NOOOOOOO, but I'm starting to think that the 16-hour finish will eat at me once I've forgotten how painful it was.


HAHA same here. I think it took me 24 hours until I decided I wanted to do another one. I will vacation again in MT but my next IM will probably be IMMD. Gotta get a faster time and being a local, I have to do that race. Hopefully it will be around in another 5 years.
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