How to Recover From a Marathon

Step 1. Vow never to do one again.

Step 2. Start thinking about next marathon.

Since a marathon is mentally and physically grueling, you need some time to recover. I’ve been reading as much as I can about marathon recovery, and here’s what I’ve come up with for my marathon recovery so far. A lot of this is taken from Hal Higdon’s post-marathon guide. (The guide I followed for marathon training was also based on a Higdon guide.)

I’ve read and heard that for every mile you run in a long race, you’re supposed to give your body a day of rest. That doesn’t mean total rest, though; it means active rest.

Higdon calls this week after the marathon “zero week.” I was supposed to take Monday through today as total rest days. I did a little bit of stretching/yoga poses the past few nights for both my sanity and my muscles.

Last night, I got a painful massage and pedicure as part of the recovery process. My muscles feel looser and my toes no longer look as bad as they feel, and I once again have soft lady feet. 

Tomorrow, I’ll go for a nice, easy two-miler in the morning to loosen up these legs. I’ll stretch the hell out of my legs when I get back and foam roll. Friday, I’ll do some kind of cross-training, like a bike ride or a little while on the elliptical. Friday night’s plan involves quite a few cocktails.

Saturday and Sunday, I’ll run a bit more. Going forward, I’ll follow weeks 1-4 of Hal’s plan as best I can. Some of what I’ve read talks about running goals going forward. I’m not going to run any races (unless there’s a totally fun one I didn’t know about!) until two NYRR ones in November that I need to finish up my 9+1 so I can run next year’s NYC Marathon.

Between now and the next marathon, I’d like to improve my 5K time, run a sub-2:00 half marathon (I’m hoping to get into the NYC Half lottery) and enjoy some classes at the gym as well as some non-running workouts. I’m definitely hooked hard on the running habit, but I’d like to mix it up, too. 

I’ll obviously listen to my body in recovery, too. If any runs seem too hard or things hurt, I won’t push myself. Since I’m sick right now, too, I’m also aiming for more sleep this next week or so.

I was pleased to read that keeping up carbs for at least this week or so is part of marathon recovery. I’m so good at carbs:

Also, if you read this blog in the Tumblr dashboard or in Google Reader, you might want to click over. I had to change my layout to accommodate another ad, so I changed up some things. Above the logo, it’s much easier now to find important posts and race recaps.

If you’ve run a marathon before, does my recovery plan sound about right?

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