Today was supposed to kick off a new plan for eating/health but it’s postponed until tomorrow… so more details on that then. Instead, let’s talk about marathon recovery!

 

I think the hardest thing after my first marathon was figuring out how to recover from it — both physically and mentally. You spend weeks training hours upon hours and suddenly, it’s all over. It can be hard to re-adjust to life “before” training and fill that seemingly void in your life. Physically, it can be confusing to know what you should do after you run a marathon. There is so much different advice out there. I’ve heard that you should take a day off for each mile that you raced (so 26 days off); I’ve also heard that you should do a shake out run the day after a marathon (ouch.).

I think the biggest thing to remember when thinking about recovery is to listen to your body. Everyone’s body is different and because of that, we all recover in different ways.

Here are 5 tips to help you recover from a marathon:

1. Give yourself time. Don’t rush back into running too soon after you run a marathon. Some people say you should run within days of finishing, but if you are too sore to do so, don’t. If you want to get some exercise in, go for a slow walk or do some yoga to stretch out your muscles. I tend to wait at least four or five days until I run after a marathon. I wait until I wake up with no soreness… and then give it another day. Again, this will be different for each marathon. After my first Boston Marathon, I did not run for three weeks because I was still super sore.

2. Spend time doing your favorite activities. I don’t know about you, but when I’m marathon training… a lot of the other things I do kind of go to the wayside. I’m just so busy running, eating and thinking about running or eating. Now’s your time to get back into the things you love! I also use this as a time to learn a new activity — after the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, for instance, I signed up for a knitting class! It was so fun and a good way to fill the void.

I also find that it’s a good time to start cross-training again. I know I’m not the only one that lets this fall off while marathon training…

3. Help yourself mentally. Marathon recovery is physical, but also mental. I find that I get the post-marathon blues after a race. You put so much time and effort into the one day and when it’s over… it’s like, now what? Finding time to run with friends, looking at race pictures and researching future marathons are some things that help me get over this.

{one of my favorite race photos ever from this year’s Boston Marathon}

 

(Just make sure you sign up for a marathon that’s a few months away so you are giving yourself time to recover.)

4. Adjust your diet. Remember how when you were in the middle of training and couldn’t get enough food?

 

Yeah, that’s changed now that you aren’t running 30-50 miles a week. Make sure to pay attention to key hunger cues and not just eat because that’s what your body has been used to doing. This can be the toughest one to remember because you’ve trained your body to eat a certain way for the past several months.

5. Sign up for a fun race! This is one of my favorite things to do after a marathon. Give it a few weeks, but find a race in your area that sounds fun.

{my upcoming fun race!}

 

Honestly, a short distance like 5K is best — you’ll feel so speedy! It’s a great way to fight the emotional and physical battles that you face after a marathon. It gives you a race to look forward to, and is something that will reward you mentally. I tend to have a race on my calendar two or three weeks after my marathon.



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