Recovery + Speedwork + Honolulu Marathon

The Potomac River Run Marathon was just over three weeks ago and I just had my first real speedwork. I took a few days off from running (and any sort of physical activity) after the marathon but started back up with short, easy runs mid-week. Since then, I’ve gradually increased mileage while keeping virtually all running to a super easy pace (I didn’t wear a Garmin at all for the first two weeks of running).

The mileage looked like this:
– 1 week post-marathon: 4 days of running – 22 miles
– 2 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47.5 miles (including 10 miles with 10 x 1:00 on, 1:00 off -> no set pace)
– 3 weeks post-marathon: 6 days of running – 47 miles (including 8 miler with 4 mile progression -> no set pace)

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Early morning miles with Jacqueline!

I think there are multiple ways to recover from a goal race. I used to be of the mindset that I HAD to take an entire week off from running after a marathon and a few days off after a half marathon. My coach is of a different mindset, and believes in more of an active recovery. It was a change for me to run the day after a half marathon – even when I was a bit sore. But a short 3-4 miler and then a string of easy runs can work just as good, if not better, than complete rest.

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Recovery is a hot topic with runners. I think we all feel so strongly about recovery and rest days – one way or the other. I think the key is to take cues from your body and do what feels right for you – not because someone else is saying to run or not run. But I think the most important thing is to keep things light and easy – no structured speedwork or long runs for a couple of weeks so that your body can fully recover.


Yesterday was my first real speedwork post-marathon. I woke up and wasn’t feeling it. It was windy and cold and my legs felt a bit sore from the strength work I did the day prior (more on this to come in a later post!). I really just wanted to make it an easy medium-length run. In the end, I decided to give it a try but had no expectations.

3×2 with 2 miles up and 2 miles down. Goal pace for this was 6:45-7:00 – which seemed a bit ambitious to me. I’ve done 3×2 a handful of times in the last few months and almost all the splits have been closer to 6:55-7:00. But coach knows what he is doing, so I do (read: try to do) as coach says.

I felt like I was working so hard that first mile but barely got my pace under 7:00 (it was also windy – 10-15 mph winds). But something clicked in the second mile and I went from feeling like I could barely run a 7:00 pace to feeling like 6:45 felt comfortably hard and sustainable.

When I started the second set, my pace immediately went back to sub-6:50. For the remainder of the workout, my pace never got above 6:50. I kept looking at my watch in disbelief – I’ve never run two mile repeats (outside) at that pace and couldn’t believe it was happening during my first speedwork of the cycle, on a windy and cold day (30 degrees w/ windchill) and on a rolling course (has about 50 feet of gain for each 2 mile set). I’m learning that I much prefer to do these workouts on a rolling course rather than totally flat because it gives me something to focus on and then look forward to.

For the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, my legs didn’t feel tired or slow as the workout progressed. In the past, I try to speed up – but my legs don’t move the way I want them to. Yesterday, my breathing that was the limiting factor. I had that exhilarating burning sensation in my throat and lungs – the feeling of pushing the pace and working hard. And having your legs respond.

Warmup: 7:53, 7:49
3×2 with 3 minute recovery: (6:57, 6:47) (6:47, 6:45) (6:47, 6:44)
Cooldown (1.4 miles): 8:10, 8:08 (for .4)
10 miles: 1:13:58 – 7:23 pace


Friday morning I will be boarding a plane for a fun-filled weekend in Honolulu! I am incredibly excited about this trip for so many reasons – little weekend getaway with old and new running friends, sun and relaxation, the beach and marathon #10! But most importantly, I am so pumped that I will be sharing the weekend with my younger sister, Nicole, who will be running her first marathon on Sunday – the Honolulu Marathon!


We don’t really have time goals for Sunday. Our plan is to take it easy because of the heat/humidity (and after her experience at the Philly half marathon in September) and walk through all the water points to ensure we are getting adequate water/nutrients.

If you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for Nicole, please share them! 

How long do you wait post-marathon (or goal race) before you start incorporating speedwork into your training?


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    10 thoughts on “Recovery + Speedwork + Honolulu Marathon

    1. I hope the marathon went well! It was really interesting reading about your speed work. I want to get more into doing speed workouts instead of just going for distance runs. This motivated me to really get a plan and make it happen.

    2. I usually wait a few weeks to do speedwork, but it really depends on the race and what I have coming up. I try to gauge it based on how I feel at that time.

      Have fun in Honolulu, my sister is running there too!
      Sarah @ KS Runner recently posted..Looking ForwardMy Profile

    3. Post marathon speed work depends on my race effort and the course. Chicago’s flat course was rough on my legs, so I didn’t speed work for 3-4 weeks. I just ran the Memphis Marathon last weekend. I’ll probably attempt some speed work next week.
      I hope you all have a great time at the Honolulu Marathon!!
      Jennifer recently posted..The Friday FiveMy Profile

    4. Good luck to your sister!! After Philly this year I decided I needed more of a break from running than I have after past marathons. This was more mental than physical, but it’s been working. I’m keeping mileage around 25-30 most likely for the next month or so and adding in yoga and barre to my routine. After training for one thing after another, it feels good to take the pressure off.
      Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted..Quirky Kids and Endurance Shopping – TOLMy Profile

    5. Good luck and HAVE FUN! I’m sure it’s going to be a great weekend for everyone!! And nice job with those 2 milers!! I love when your fitness just comes together. It’s like your body catches up to the training and you see it reflected in the numbers. All that hard work is paying off for you. Enjoy it!
      Allie recently posted..Year of Running 2014: PerfectionMy Profile