The fall marathon season is in full swing! With all the energy, time and focus runners put into their training, one thing that is often over looked is the recovery. It can make one feel like
You have just accomplished an amazing goal, and obviously you want to do whatever it takes to be back to running again, right? (Maybe around mile 21 you weren’t thinking that, but trust me, you will!) You’re recovery begins as soon as you cross the finish line. Treat this time as you did following your long runs during training. Grab some recovery fuel, and continue walking. Once you are back home, do some light stretching. Some people find an ice bath helps reduce soreness the next day. Take it easy and eat a nutritious meal. Drink plenty of fluids and rest!
Try to get good quality sleep over the next few days. Become friends with your foam roller, or schedule a massage a couple days after your race. I believe taking a few rest days are important in the recovery process. The amount of days seems debateable. Some experts say a few days, and some say a week or more. Ultimately, you need to listen to your body and decide what will be best for you. If in doubt, give it an extra day. It’s important to remember that even when you are no longer sore, there is still muscle repair taking place. When you decide you are ready to run again, start slow, and keep the mileage low. Some people follow their taper training schedule in reverse to work their way back up to their normal training volume.
Do not get discouraged during this period! Running a marathon is not easy, and it can take a lot out of you! You will be sore, tired, and maybe even sad for a few days. Take care of yourself like you do during the training process, and you will be back up and running soon. And maybe even thinking about what marathon to run next!