General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you? Rss Feed  
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2013-08-22 2:49 PM

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Subject: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
Thanks for checking this thread out.....I just finished IMLP about 3-4 weeks ago and still not quite feeling right and was wondering how long is "normal" for recovery.

For the sake of this question I am considering "recovered" the state that I feel I was in about 4 weeks prior to the IM which being, though tired, able to do a century, hit a long run around 18, and swim 4000m with little trouble

I have been in tri specific training for 4 years , my first IM, but 3 HIM's and other assorted races(some people like to know this, so I am not a newbie but not a decade long triathlete). I am 41 rested 2 weeks no training after the race and have slowly gotten back into it over the last week and a half but swims over 2500, bike trainer workouts over an hour or 2-3 on the road or runs of even 9-10 are a battle and I am slow to recover this week from some of those sessions....generally when not training I feel great and have gotten my training frequency back to about 5-6 days a week but just lower volume.

Since I do not have an IM, mary or anything with big distances on the schedule so I am not looking to be at 20+ hrs a week in training but I am suprised that being 3-4 weeks out I am having as much difficulty doing "longish" workouts.

So how long till you felt "normal" or at least you felt good to really ramp up the training volume? thanks

Edited by FELTGood 2013-08-22 2:53 PM


2013-08-22 3:26 PM
in reply to: FELTGood

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?

I did IMLP in 2011.  Took the next week off almost fully except for some swimming. Slowly ramped back up. Had an Oly in early September, then I think it really hit me. Had an Achilles injury and took some time off and it was hard to get going again. Did manage to do a HM in November, but I had planned to do the full. Just didn't have it in me. I didn't do much in December either, or January, or February... illness, winter, work, family, yadda , yadda, yadda.... It wasn't until the spring when I got really rolling again, until I broke my collarbone late June. Took me over a year before I raced again. In fact, I only did one tri between IMLP in July of 2011 and August 2013. I think the Oly in Sept after IMLP forced me to get back in the training mode, but there were times I considered just bailing on it altogether. If you look at my logs from July 2011 until late March 2012 you'll see the slump I went through. Not all due to IM, but that was a factor for sure

2013-08-22 3:31 PM
in reply to: mrbbrad

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?

I was pretty beat up for two weeks, and didn't do any real training for a month. Started base again and stayed off the hard work for a month after that and was back to normal.

2013-08-22 3:39 PM
in reply to: dmiller5

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
Thanks for starting this thread. I did IMMT on Sunday as my first IM. I have been feeling pretty good since race day and so decided I would head out to my masters group for half an hour in the slow lane with a pull buoy this morning

It was dreadful - I was gassed after 50m ! I decided I was doing myself no favours and got out after about 400m.

I have a sprint triathlon coming up in 3 weeks and I really don't know if I'll be able to do it - Having said that I do realize it is very early days for me in terms of recovery.

I will be watching your replies with interest.

2013-08-22 3:44 PM
in reply to: slowbuthappy

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
I've been wondering the same thing. I bike commute about 10.5 miles a day (each way) and am hoping I can be back in the saddle soon after Wisconsin. Maybe if I just take 'er easy it should be okay, but don't want to become injured... Guess I'll just have to wait and see!
2013-08-22 4:00 PM
in reply to: FELTGood

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
Going on 4 years

A common formula is one day for each hour on the course. I think that formula isn't really right, even as an estimate, especially for people going under 12 hours. (I.e.., true recovery takes longer than the formula estimates.)

Once it won't make matters worse, light exercise helps recovery.


2013-08-22 4:14 PM
in reply to: Experior

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
For me 3-4 days until I can walk normally but really 4-6 weeks before my legs start to feel normal during any sort of run/bike. This year I took 4 days off and have hopped right into marathon training (trying to get a BQ before registration opens). Legs are definitely not quite right almost 4 weeks after the race. If I didn't really want to run Boston next year I definitely wouldn't have attempted this.
2013-08-22 4:31 PM
in reply to: FELTGood

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?

Good way to tell if you are recovered is if you can do high intensity work/training like intervals.

I did a sprint 2 weeks after my first IMLP as 5 people in my extended family were doing it on family vacation.

It was the first race I ever wanted to quit, and I just felt off when trying to go hard.

Why do you want to do the distances you are doing post IM?

Now is a very good time to do what you feel like and take the pressure off of training plans. It is often hard after IM when you are super fit to walk away from that amazing fitness but for most of it is needed to be able to fully recover and start to rebuild.

First IMs seem to take folks longer to recover from.

2013-08-22 4:42 PM
in reply to: KathyG

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?

I did IMAZ last November and after I was walking like a penguin with a broken leg for about 3 days after that. 

A week later I tried a 'really easy' jog around the hotel we were staying at in Vegas and my heart rate almost immediately spiked and I felt TERRIBLE.

Honestly?  I would say it was a couple of months before I wanted to do anything training related.  I still went to the gym and did some workouts, and while the body healed and was good to go, my mind was not. 

2013-08-23 5:18 AM
in reply to: FELTGood

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
I think it's different for everyone... Depend own how many years you've been at it.I've been doing IM since 2006 and I normaly have a couple of weeks off structured traing ... Just walking he dog, short hikes that sort of thing ... I'm normaly back not training on the 3rd week and by the 4th I've re-introduced the harder sessions.You need to listen to your body .. Only you can know your level of recovery
2013-08-23 5:22 AM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
I did Ironman Copenhagen last Sunday - my third IM race.

One of the things I learned from the other two is that there is plenty you can do to aid recovery.

1). Hydration - don't stop hydrating at the finish line. Carry on drinking
2.) Stretch - it's the last thing you want to do but some gentle stretching after the race will hel return your quads and calfs back to their normal length. Nothing major just 2x15 seconds on each major muscle (calfs, quads, hamstring)
3). Nutrition - lots of people pig out on the food they've denied themselves prior to IM but I think this is silly. Your body is crying out for nutrients to repair your muscles so this time I ate lots of meat, fish and vegetables in the three days after the race
4). Massage - you have to have this done by someone who knows what they're doing. A normal deep tissue sports massage is madness. You need gentle mobility. I've had two so far this week and have felt so much better after them.
5). Rest - I took a day off and slept nearly all day save to ge up, walk around a bit and drink water.


For three days I was very sore but yesterdy and today is much better. There's a deep tiredness in my legs when I climb stairs and I'm going to use that as a benchmark for when I can train again.

I've got my two week family vacation to Greece on Saturday and I plan for that to be very relaxing and eating the right things. Hopefully when I get back from that I can start some very light trainin again with a view to getting into my fall/winter run focus plan in late September.


2013-08-23 7:16 AM
in reply to: Dan-L

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Subject: RE: Recovery from an IM, how long was it for you?
Thanks for info...I guess I am on a normal recovery schedule, just a little impatient

Kathy G: When I reread my post I can see that it does sound like I want to continue to crank out Long IM distance workouts....however I guess I meant to say that I would like to keep my fitness level in the oly/HIM level and not regress all that much so I am starting at a higher base this coming winter than I did last year......so within reason and not injurying myself I would just like to keep a reasonably high level of fitness thanks
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