A little over two weeks ago, I ran the Chicago Marathon. I got the time I wanted, felt great, and couldn’t have asked for a better race. Where do I go from here?
No matter how excited (or disappointed) you are with your marathon performance, your body needs some recovery time. I did some research and read Hal Higdon’s marathon book (that I had autographed at the expo ). Here’s how I’ve been recovering:
- Celebrate. The day of the marathon, sure, that’s obvious. But don’t stop there! I even wore my medal to work one day. We also had a post-marathon party, where our running club/training program got together to eat, drink, and share stories. Celebrating your own race is great, but it’s so much more fun to celebrate everyone else’s races, too!
- Indulge. I have been eating. And drinking. A lot. After waking up early every weekend for the past 4 months, eating healthy so I’d have energy for my run, and staying hydrated, it’s time to let loose! I’m definitely more of a ‘run to eat’ than ‘eat to run’ type of gal, so I’m enjoying having a glass of beer or wine at night, having a late Saturday or Sunday night out, and making less than nutritious lunch decisions. If food isn’t the way you indulge, then find other ways to reward yourself for a great effort!
- Rest. I took about 10 days off from running. The research I did varies, and I think it depends on how long you’ve been running and how much experience you have. However, your body is recovering from the damage you caused it during the marathon, so rest is essential! And, if you don’t rest now, you’re body will break down in the future.
- Cross-train. If #1 is tough for you, find a different way to get your workout in. For me, I’m trying out Yoga. I took a sculpt/weights class on Sunday, and a Ryder class this morning. I am SORE in places I didn’t know I could be sore. am definitely no yogi or biker, but I’m trying something new to work out different areas of my body and incorporate some variety in my life. I can honestly say the Ruder class this morning made me reply appreciate why I’m a runner.
- Try out your legs. Eventually, you need to get out there and see how your legs feel. My first run was last Wednesday. I ran 3 at a pretty good pace, but my legs felt lethargic and I had a few tweaks in the ankles and hips. Saturday, I ran 4 at a slightly slower pace, but felt pretty great. I’m still not jumping right back into it, but I am planning on running shorter distances (3-5 miles) 2x/week, and I’m going to try to start my weekend long runs this weekend with 6.
- Listen to your body. Do all the research and reading you want about what the ‘best’ recovery method is. When it comes down to it, you need to listen to your body. Joints still feeling sore? Take a few more days off or cross-train. Muscles screaming? Stop. You’re going to feel tired and lethargic; your body is still repairing your muscles. After my last marathon, I took off 3 weeks. I also tried to run after 10 days, and my legs immediately hurt. See #3! But if you feel pain, stop. It’s better to rest now than pay for it later.
- Plan your next race. What’s your next goal? Start planning for it. I’m planning to do some of the fun Fall/holiday races, but I haven’t signed up for a specific race yet. My goal is to do a 5K the last week of October/first week of November, then look for additional 5Ks and 10ks throughout the rest of November and December. Amanda, Lara and I will be planning our next ‘runcation’ half marathon for January/February (we went to Austin last year); once we determine the race, then I’ll start a more formal training program.
I’m no expert, but this approach seems to be working for me. Any other suggestions? How are you recovering from your fall marathon?