Monday, November 17, 2008

Muscle Fatigue

It's funny how at times muscle fatigue can seem like a bottomless pit that you'll never be able to pull yourself out of, but other times the same feelings can feel like such a positive, easy to overcome thing.

My muscles were feeling quite tired all day today after logging almost 50 miles in less than 24 hours over the weekend. In my 10 mile run before work and in my bike ride to and from work it was very clear that my legs just didn't have much energy today. The thing is though that it kind of felt good.

All day I had an unexplainable comforting feeling about my muscles feeling so tired. I think part of it may stem from basic feelings of satisfaction from putting in a very solid 5 or 6 days to lead up to this fatigue, but I think even more comforting is the feeling of being quite tired out but also feeling "strong" at the same time.

It's a rare feeling for sure. Generally if you're muscles are tired out you feel very weak, but I've noticed a few times in my life, when I'm in really good shape, that I can get myself really good and worn out but still feel very strong. The distinction between the two is hard to explain as the actual feelings in the muscles aren't that much different.

When I was biking home from work today my leg muscles felt pretty near the same as they did my last 2 days in The Great Divide Race when my muscles were so weak that they were basically useless. Today though, despite almost identical feelings in my legs I would not characterize them as weak in any way. In some ways what I felt in my legs today made me even more optimistic about the shape I'm getting myself into than last Friday's run when I felt nearly as fast, strong, and flexible as I ever have.


Dave Harris said...

It all depends what part of the fitness curve you're on. Building for an event I nearly always have the same sensations you mention. Fatigue can be intense but is always fleeting.

The flip side is coming down the backside of deep fatigue, like post GDR, GLR, or 7 day stage race. Muscle fatigue associated with being blown is tenatious!

Good luck in the big show.

AJW said...


In my two best WS years (2005 and 2007) I traveled to the course to run 140 miles in four days 15 days before the race. Each time, in the three days following these training camps, the fatigue in my legs was intense and it was major work to run 30 minutes of flat pavement. Then, as the fatigue subsided my legs became full of energy and I began what I call, my surge. It is, quite simply, the best I have ever felt in my training life.

Of course, I worked myself up to that same place in 2008 but couldn't race. Guess I'll have to try again next year.