I had so much fun writing Marathon Monday leading up to the Boston Marathon that I’ve decided to continue the series. Check out past posts HERE and stay tuned to new ones coming each and every Monday.
I feel like one of my least favorite parts of marathon running comes down to marathon recovery. The first few days, it’s kinda like “woo! a break from running… yes!” and then when the soreness starts to go away, but not all the way, you are itching to get back on the road. Over the past 19 marathons (!), I’ve learned a few things to make recovery a little bit more enjoyable…
1. Don’t set any specific fitness plans the two weeks following the marathon.
Depending on the race, I try to take at least a week off… but the first time I ran Boston, I took about three weeks off from running because my quads were so shredded from the hills (it didn’t help that we lived in flat Florida at the time). I’ve learned to let my fitness schedule be a little fluid the two weeks following a marathon and simply listen to my body for what I want to do. The times I’ve been stressed out have come when I’ve committed to a specific distance or something when I haven’t been ready to do it. Just go by feel, leave the watch at home and get back into enjoying the run.
With all that time you have from not running, take some time to stretch, foam roll and cross train. Your body will thank you.
2. Find a new goal.
I am definitely the type of person who will get home from a race and sign up for the next one while still being sore. I may or may not have done that this time around with my next marathon, details in tomorrow’s post! However, once you’ve hit your goal of running the marathon, think about your next goal. Speed? A new workout? New distance? Whatever it is, it’ll help you focus and get through recovery.
3. Keep drinking water.
This is something that I struggle with a bit. I drink a ton of water after a run, especially as it starts to get hotter and hotter. But, when I’m not running, I’m not as thirsty and water is the last thing I grab. When it comes to recovering those muscles, you need some water to flush out the toxins and all that good stuff. Carrying a water bottle around definitely helps with this, along with adding some Nuun to the mix.
4. Cut back on the food.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to the few days after the marathon! I don’t know about you, but the after-burn is legit and always takes a day or two to subside. You just went from running 30 miles a week to zero so take this into consideration with your food intake. The most important thing is to listen to your body — it’ll tell you when it’s hungry and ready to eat. (this doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to indulge a little bit, see #5.)
You just finished a marathon and you deserve to celebrate! Eat some cake, hit a happy hour, take an extra-long nap… whatever it is, celebrate your accomplishment with some non-running excitement.
Oh, and P.S., there are no rules as to how much or how long you can talk about your marathon… 😉
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