What to do when recovering from ME workouts

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  • #66332

    Hello all! ME workouts usually take a while for me to recover. I generally have DOMS for a 2-3 days, and feel pretty weak, especially on the 2nd day. During the recovery days, should I limit all activities to only recovery? Or should I just go ahead and do aerobic Z1/Z2 for 60+ minutes to build aerobic base, even though my legs are tired and/or sore?

    The challenge here is if I stick to only recovery runs until my legs are fully back, it basically knocks out half of my training week with no mileage. Say I do ME on Monday, then have to recover Tuesday/Wednesday, Half the week is gone and I really haven’t built any mileage.

    For the past year or so, I have been just running with the fatigue in Z1 or low Z2, but seeing the recent blog post about recovery made me question if I need to be doing something different.

    Thoughts? Thanks!

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    rich.b on #66370

    The answer is likely individual, and for me it would depend where I am in the big picture of a training cycle. Running on tired legs can be good sometimes, but I would not want to do that on a regular basis nor if it is more than average DOMS. In such cases I opt to cycle because I can still do a productive training session, and I find it helps recovery from DOMS more than doing total rest.
    More fundamental, however, might be figuring out what is it within the ME workouts that is leaving you with such lasting DOMS that significantly impacts your running. I would consider the equation from that side maybe first.

    Mariner_9 on #66376

    I’m surprised the DOMS lasts that long. Are you carrying the weight downhill as well as uphill? If so, my experience has been that it takes some time to get used to doing that.

    doughywilson on #66378

    Rich, I would say it’s “normal DOMS” that lasts 48-36 hours. Good tip on the bike. I’ve tried that before, I just get so bored so I avoid it.

    Mariner, I’m doing the gym-based ME workout with step ups, lunges, split squats, jump squats. Once again, the DOMS lasts 2-3 days which is pretty typical from what I understand about DOMS.

    jakedev on #66385

    I have the same issue with the gym based ME WO. I did a-couple things. I’ll just list them out and I apologize if I sound like an infomercial

    – Starting at the prescribed 6 sets was too much and could barely walk for 2 days so I initially had to reduce to 4 sets and work my way back up. Same with Step Ups or Weighted Hill Climbs. If I can’t somewhat recover to do light workouts in 48 hours I am doing too much.

    – Immediately after the WO I consume a blend of Recoverite, collagen protein and whey protein. (Hammer Nutrition)

    – I put in compression leggings after a cold shower and wear them to bed (2XU)

    – After some stretching I use pneumatic leg massager/compressors for an hour while cuddling with the wifey (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B095HSM39T/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

    – Swimming worked wonders but there is no pool in my town anymore.

    I was still sore but a combination of these factors helped me recover faster

    doughywilson on #66390

    Jakedev, great thoughts. I also started doing the ME workouts at 3-4 sets rather than the 6 right off the bat. I have been able to build up to 6, so that’s good. I have also started doing recovery drinks and it seems to e helping speed up the healing.

    I’m still trying to understand if I should just run on the tired legs the next day for more aerobic development, or only do recovery. I can certainly handle a 60 minute easy run the next day, but I’m not sure if that is just slowing my progress over the week.

    jochemwestert on #66429

    I’m also dealing with the same issue. I don’t go to extremes with strength training and I don’t do intensive running training the day after.

    For some guidlines see articles about concurrent training or see the folowing paper: Doma K, Deakin GB, Schumann M, Bentley DJ (2019) Training Considerations for Optimising Endurance Development: An Alternate Concurrent Training Perspective. Sport. Med., 49:669-682

    By the way, I’m also curious how others on this forum combine strength and endurance.

    Seth Keena-Levin on #66484

    Good points, all. I agree with everything, esp scaling back the workout and intaking protein immediately after as well as keeping the following day low impact. In my experience, the split jump squats impart DOMS the most, followed by the squat jumps. Ballistic movements.

    I tend to prescribe a ‘break-in ME’ for Week 1 ME phase, like 2-3 sets of very controlled but purposeful movement. Often this helps make the 4-5set ME workout much less painful, but it almost always is to some extent for most people. Swimming is very helpful the day(s) after as is cycling, elliptical, walking and gentle running on a slight incline (treadmill preferred). You want to avoid more ballistics so not downhill running. Gentle foam roll after, no aggressive stretching.

    Try working up the depth of the squat and split squat jumps – more depth equals more impact on muscles. As runners, you don’t need to stress adding weight for these unless your legs are very seasoned to the protocol (like, in a couple years into them.)

    Bottom line, gentle aerobic work is still ‘running the aerobic clock’ even if it’s not sports specific. Start aggressively-easy and focus on the multi-year benefits of this, rather than the 1/4 year. Hope this offers more help than what’s already been given above.


    jochemwestert on #66496

    helpful comment, thanks

    Mariner_9 on #66502

    The only ME work I’ve done has been weighted stair climbs. My aerobic work the day following the ME workouts was cycling (rather than running, which I did if there was no ME workout the day prior). I assume the principle of doing less demanding aerobic work the next day should also help with recovery from gym-based ME while still providing some training stimulus.

    doughywilson on #66780

    Thanks for all the replies, everyone. Some good thoughts here. I’m still left wondering about my original question, which is whether to do only “recovery” when legs are sore from ME, or if “aerobic easy” is OK. According to Scott Johnston in the latest blog article on recovery, a 60-90 minute easy run is NOT recovery.

    John H on #67241

    I am honestly dealing with this exact same issue now. At the end of the day, I’ve taken it back to basics: Aerobic fitness is the most important thing. It’s not worth sacrificing a lot of it for muscular endurance. Indeed, sacrificing too much aerobic fitness for ME will be counterproductive, because the ceiling to how much ME you can have is set in large part by your aerobic fitness.

    For me, this has meant slowing the progression of the gym-based ME program. I found the first couple weeks too easy so skipped ahead a bit, but progressing every week has left me hobbling for 2-3 days after each workout. So I am going to repeat last week’s workout this week.

    From everything the UA folks write here, and from my experience with hard intervals back when I was a runner, a little bit of this kind of work goes a long way. You don’t need to let it totally wreck you, because the benefit you get from a workout so hard that it leaves you totally wrecked isn’t much greater than the benefit of a workout that just leaves you a little sore.

    It’s all about recovery. Especially if you’re an “aging athlete” over 35 like I am…

    Aaron on #67372

    After a few yrs of ME where I had pretty bad/long DOM I’ve simply starting grading into it much easier. I find now that less is more and it does not take too many seemingly ‘easy’ sessions where I can ramp up to what feels like more proper ‘hard’ without the same DOM consequence. I find the adjustment non-linear. I start easy but then do pretty good ramp up of overall volume and intensity of ME where the hardest workouts don’t seem to hit as hard in the aftermath.

    turfbasket on #68132

    Hi All,
    This is a great topic of discussion. I have similar queries about the ‘recovery run’after the ME workout.
    I am training for a mountain challenge and following Mike Foote’ s vertical plan. My goal is 100km with 9000m elevation and was wondering if doing Z1/Z2 hikes in the hills is appropriate for the following 2 recovery runs (on the Wed & Thurs).

    I am left wondering if light efforts in the hills is appropriate to allow for the necessary recovery.

    My quandary is how do I generate the necessary mileage and vert if I keep these recovery runs on the flat.

    Thanks Team!

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