I don’t know about you, but I always find recovery from a marathon to be a tricky thing. In the first few days post-race, you’re still on a high. (check) Your legs don’t feel all that bad (check) and you want to get back into training again as quickly as possible (somewhat check). You might even have another race on the horizon that’s tempting you to jump right back into it. But experience has taught me that recovery can be deceiving. You might feel like you’re fully recovered a few days later, when in reality, you’re not.
So what’s a runner to do? In my case, recovery began with a beer and a burger, Mike’s Pastry in Boston (have you had their cannoli?) and some walking around the city playing tourist. I was tempted to run a couple of miles the day after the marathon, but a large blood blister on my foot made me think twice. That, and friends who threatened to disown me if I considered it.
In all seriousness, I think any time you run a marathon, you need to give your recovery just as much attention as you did your training. Reversing your taper mileage, more or less, is a great way to go. Crosstraining for a few days is another. I did a 30-min. easy spin this morning on my bike trainer. Tomorrow I plan to swim a little and then run a very easy three miles.
I also like to give myself a week or two to just go with the flow. If I feel like turning the alarm off and going back to sleep, I do. If I feel like skipping a run, I do. This approach gives both my body and my mind to get back to where they need to be to handle real training again. And think about it. If you don’t do this in the week or so immediately following a marathon, when else are you going to do it? When you don’t, you’ll eventually find your enthusiasm starting to wane, and potentially set your body up for a fall, too. Not worth it in my opinion.
How do you recover post-marathon?