Monday, May 29, 2006

50K Race: After Action Report

I generally jot down a few notes after a major race to archive what went wrong or right before, during and after a race. The Westerwald 50K race on May 25th was my first ultra distance, i.e. more than marathon-distance, so I spent a little longer pondering the event.

The Training

Negative points:

- Generally speaking my training was too short and not hard enough.
- Specifically, I needed even more hill workouts, especially aggressive downhill sections.
- The almost 3 week tapering was a little long, 1 - 2 weeks probably would have been enough.

Positive points:

- My long runs closely resembled the terrain that I encounted during the race.
- My Run/walk ratio that I trained with was adequate for the race.
- My eating and drinking during the long runs closely matched what I required during the race.
- The training marathon that I completed 4 weeks before the race provided the confidence (and experience) that got me through the last part of the 50K!

The Race and Logistics

Negative points:

- The hotel.
- Started out too fast.
- Ran the first major hills.

Positive points:

- Had a couple good nights sleep before the race.
- Did a good job adjusting my race after a too-fast start.
- Fueled well before, during, and after the race.
- Maintained focus during latter part of race.


Not much to say here other than that I have been eating too much and have put on a couple pounds since the race. One could also debate whether running a race two days after the ultra was a good idea or not. In any case my legs held up well.

On a positive note I started refuelling immediately after the race (e.g. within 30 minutes), first some hot bean soup and a roll, some alchohol-free wheat beer (Weizen) and a piece of cake; then later a large pasta dinner with a mixed salad containing turkey wedges. I also drank at least 2-3 liters of water over the rest of the day. On Friday and Saturday I also kept up a high volume of fluid intake and had a couple good meals with carbs and protein.

I made it a point to stay off my feet as much as possible on Thursday after the race and Friday after we got home. On Friday afternoon I went for a walk/jog. This consisted of about 500 meters walking, a 1K slow jog, another 3-4 minute walk, then finally about a 2K jog. My legs were really stiff and my right ITB was whining, but the next day I felt much better. And of course Saturday night I ran the 8.2K race.

Today (Monday) my legs are tired and begin to stiffen if I sit at my desk for too long without walking around. My neck and shoulders have been stiff since I raced on Saturday night - I wonder if this is a result of the races or more as a result of being in the wind for over two hours on Saturday night??

So my training plans for this week:

Today: Rest
Tuesday: Swim
Wednesday: A recovery run, distance to be spontaneously determined.
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest or recovery run.
Saturday: At least an hour run.
Sunday Rest or swim.
Monday: Maybe a half-marathon

Future plans:

I have a longer race in mind for June 24th, but first I need to see how my recovery progresses this week before I make any final decision. In the meantime I’ll keep you all in suspense.

thanks, jack. i really find it useful to get your post-mortem of training like this. i am still very glad that you had a positive overall experience at your race and i look forward to seeing how changes to your training will improve your next ultra. congratulations again!
Can't wait to read about your next great plan! :-)
Don't forget to take it easy and savor the victory of your 50K. Your accomplishments in this race are awesome! Be proud of yourself for doing such a fantastic job!
sounds good, what a great break-down on the race(s).
Whoa, I lost following you and before I know it - you ran your first 50k! What an amazing job you did with all the rain and adjusting your pace and fueling!
I use 2 week taper, when the week before I run 60% of peak mileage and the week of I run about 12-15 miles. 3 weeks is a bit overkill, I agree. Don't worry about gaining weight, it's not your eating, it's your body retains water after the whole ordeal. The pounds will come down by the end of the week.
Yay for a longer race!!
Jack--I've just returned from a long weekend and no computer, but I wanted to say: way to go!! I can't wait to go back and read all the details I missed. You did it!!
nice job on the big race jack, and i can't believe you are training so much already! awesome man. definitely inspiring.
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