This past week was wonderful. No running, sleeping in (well, until the boys wook up at 5:45/6am), drinking wine every night and eating whatever I had a hankering for (which seemed to be a lot of chocolate and french fries).
I woke up incredibly sore on Tuesday – more sore than I ever remember being post-marathon. Tuesday and Wednesday were just painful – the stairs mocked me each time I was on them. But it was a happy kind of pain – I still don’t think the smile has left since last Monday!
I didn’t do much moving at all on Tuesday (which was necessary!). Wednesday, the boys and I went to the zoo for a few hours. It felt good (yet still a bit painful) to walk around – but it was too gorgeous of a day to keep them inside!
I got on the bike on Thursday and Friday and did 30 min of easy spinning (didn’t even break a sweat) just to get my legs moving. No core work. No strength work. No running.
Saturday was my first run. 4 achy, not-so-great miles. No garmin but I think it was about 9-9:15 pace. My quads still felt a little sore – I felt fine walking and assumed the run would be okay – but it was clear I needed another day or so of recovery. (I took Sunday off and ran 5 miles yesterday which felt much better.)
Recovery after a marathon is such a touchy subject. Do you run or not run? How much time should you take off? I know plenty of runners who take a couple of weeks off from running and it seems to work well for them.
I find I feel better by doing short, easy runs (nothing more than 3-5 miles) after taking the better part of the week off. I’ll stick to lower mileage for a bit before slowly increasing the miles over the course of a few weeks.
These are the things I keep in mind during recovery after marathons:
- Honor your body by taking things easy. There shouldn’t be excessive mileage, high intensity runs or anything that puts stress on your body. You just put your body through a lot – be patient and give it the time it needs to fully recover.
- No recovery will be the same. Depending on the course, how hard you pushed, the conditions, the level of soreness will fluctuate. Don’t feel tied to a recovery plan. Even if you “always” run 4 days after a marathon, you may need an extra couple of days if you really pushed yourself or if your body is extra beat up. I feel like the phrase “Listen to your body” is so overly used – but in this case, it’s the best thing you can do. If there’s any sort of pain or discomfort, take an extra day off.
- Active Recovery can be a good thing. As much as I’d love to sit on the couch for days, the best way I recover is to get up and move my legs. Short walks, easy runs, easy spinning all help flush out the lactic acid that has built up. But whatever exercise you do should be focused on recovery – not because you are worried about losing fitness (which you naturally will – and it’s a GOOD thing), not because you need to work out every day, not because you want to start training again.
- Enjoy the downtime. In the couple of weeks post-race, I don’t feel tied to a training plan, I eat whatever I want, I stay up late, I sleep in. I do all those things that I don’t do as frequently in the weeks leading up to the race. It’s a good way to reset, relax and get ready for another training cycle. We know we need the break physically, but often forget that we need the break mentally as well after a long training cycle.
I plan to share a bit of my racing calendar later this week – already lining up some races for the summer (goal marathon in fall TBD)!
After my less-than enjoyable 4 miler Saturday morning, I spent most of the day cleaning and straightening up the house before getting ready for my cousin’s wedding. It was on Staten Island and all of my sisters, my dad and my entire dad’s side of the family was there. It was a blast!!
We drank entirely too much, didn’t get home til after 1 and got about 4 hours of sleep, which we paid for dearly on Sunday morning (but isn’t that what marathon recovery should be like?).
The boys, my husband and I spent most of the morning at the Kid’s High Rock Challenge, an awesome obstacle course put on by King of the Mountain Events. My oldest had participated in the event in the fall and so it was a no brainer for us when I got the email last month.
This time, the littlest guy participated as well. I was so proud of and happy for him – he ran the entire course on his own and seemed SO proud of himself.
If you are a local, I HIGHLY recommend signing your kids up for these obstacle courses! They have multiple age group starts (4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10+) and the obstacles are age appropriate and there’s a ton of help and assistance from race volunteers along the course.
We bee-lined out of there so we could clean up and head to my sister’s home for my great-aunt’s birthday celebration. She is 97 years young and one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She still cooks, cleans and tells the absolute funniest jokes in the world.
Hope you are having a great week so far! Happy Tuesday!
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