I was doing my last training run last Tuesday before the Nisene Marks Marathon this weekend. I've come to favor doing a training run in the hills on the Tuesday before the event because, for some reason, it seems to help me run better. Something to do with the conditioning of the muscle that also coincides with muscle memory just in time for the race. Maybe I made that up, but it seems to work.
Anyway, I had ran pretty consistently the two weeks prior:
And then a short break for a couple of days, that turned into 4 days off from Thursday's run to Tuesday's run of this week. So nothing out of the ordinary. Yet when I woke up Wednesday morning my legs felt as though they had been put through the ringer. I mean, it felt like I was at mile 23, or that I had just ran a marathon. My right calf and both quads were extremely sore. This was strange because I had never gotten sore after a training run. I've even ran this same trails and distance before and was never sore before. So I started to look for what was different, for surely it would tell me why I was sore.
After a little bit of diggin' around I realized I hadn't eaten much protein in the days before the training run, and I didn't eat hardly any after the run! Whoa, this was a wake up call. I've read that it is best if you eat protein within an hour after a hard workout or race in order to stave off any soreness and to help your muscles knit themselves back together. Until now I didn't really think anything of it. Yet my diet had hardly any protein and here I am feeling as though I had ran a 6 hour race in the hills instead of an easy 1:40 training run.
Of course there could be other factors, and it may have nothing to do with the protein, but it is certainly something I will keep an eye on in the future. If I become sore again I will have to look at the amount of protein I ate and compare it with last Tuesday's protein and see if there is some sort of trend that can support this analysis.
Until then, Cave Man Say: "Eat Meat (okay you vegetarians, "Protein")". It does a body good.