Altitude Sickness
June 4, 2015

Altitude Sickness: “rest period”

I am giving myself a rest period for a week or so to recuperate from my 28+ mile run. There were no real bad side effects to the run, mind you, but I think that given the nature of that type of effort, a rest period is worthwhile. I have been walking, lifting, riding my road bike, doing short runs and high-intensity interval sprinting, and hitting dozens of buckets of golf balls.

In retrospect, this does not sound like a rest period. But bear with me.

One of the things that I find most frustrating about training as a middle-aged athlete (every time I use that phrase my brain says, “Who are you talking about?”) is not muscular recovery time and joint health (I am tip-top in those areas despite some spectacular injuries in the last few years), but rather the time it takes for my adrenal glands to recover.

I notice that when I engage in particularly grueling exercise that involves a great deal of will power to complete, I am left with a bit of an adrenal/pituitary deficit. I’m tired and a bit draggy for a couple of days.

I thought at first that this might have to do with hydration or electrolytes. Both of these factors can (for me) greatly exacerbate fatigue issues if they are neglected, but in the end, only time puts the spring back in my step, the bounce back in my stride.

During this rest period, I am engaging in strenuous exercise, just either lower-impact or for shorter periods of time. My hypothesis is that some long, fast rides and some short, fast runs will keep my heart, lungs, and legs in shape so that I do not lose the gains I have made in the last few weeks, but will be sufficiently gentle enough to allow my legs and especially my adrenal glands to recover, perhaps even giving me progress during my rest period.

We will see. Next week I will do a shorter run of 15-18 miles, and I will know right away if I have gone backwards. If I have not gone backwards, I will stay the course with lower- impact training until the week succeeding that week, and then I will do a run of at least 35, but hopefully 40 miles (remember that I am training for a 37-mile race). One of the important elements of training for distance events is to train beyond the distance of your event so that you aren’t running in new territory (endurance wise) during an event.

Once I have shown my legs that I can run as far as I need to, I plan to start hitting trails for steeper, shorter runs, eventually merging the long and the steep into a single set of runs.

One thing at a time.

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