Marathon Month Continues! To get everyone caught up, check out:
- Marathon Tips for Before, During, After Race Day
- Taper Strategy Guide
- Top Lessons From the US Marathon Trials
Last week, I started to talk about what to do after your marathon, but I wanted to also talk about some of the other aspects of post marathon recovery.
Start here, which my guest post for Nicole on what to do after your run you goal race! That will help you figure out in a general sense what to do with yourself after your race.
Now, let’s talk specifics!
To preface everything that I am about to say, I like to think of the time after a big race as an inverse taper. Let me explain!
Nutrition will continue to be incredibly important in the days after the marathon. I always recommend that runners continue to eat as if they are still training–feel free to think of it as another kind of taper! Mirror how you ate in the week leading up to the race by adding back in fiber, maintaining calories, and hydrating. No, you are not going to be doing a ton of running, so you don’t need to go nuts, but you do need to promote muscle repair and recovery by eating balanced meals with protein, carbs, and healthy fats spread throughout the day.
Continue to foam roll and practice optimal muscle recovery techniques. Focus on allll the muscles–big guys, little guys. Maybe go and get a massage. But tell them that you ran a marathon! Ask them to focus on your back, glutes, and upper legs especially!
With regards to working out after marathon, you are going to be feeling like you are in a weird kind of limbo: you are a) exhausted and totally ok with not running, b) totally feeling fine and normal and let’s go run!, c) exhausted and totally ok with not working out, d) feeling fine and ready to workout and used to working out, e) burnt out and never want to move again. Sometimes, you might feel #allthethings above. That is not unusual!
First of all, take a break from really running. That doesn’t mean that you have to not run completely, but I recommend a 5K at the most and at shakeout pace. If this isn’t your first marathon or you took it very very easy, you might be able to run a little within the first week, but regardless, honor your body and give it a figurative savasana!
Speaking of, this is a great time for gentle and restorative yoga. I am a big fan of CorePower Yoga’s C1 class because it has a great combination of dynamic and isometric muscle contraction that is in a warm but not overly heated room (perfect for stretching out).
If you are just itching to get out and move around, I recommend low impact, steady state cross training. Think Easy run effort. Hold off on the HIIT workouts like spin classes or going to town on the stepmill. Your pelvis did a heckuva lot of work marathon day, so let it recover as well. It isn’t just your muscles that need to recover! Though we will never know, perhaps if I had given myself more of a recovery for my bones after last year’s Chicago Marathon, maybe my injury would have been less severe. Better safe than sorry, right?
With regards to strength training after marathon, focus on the muscles that didn’t take such a beating during the race, but don’t be afraid to engage some of your main running muscles. However, you might want to bring the weight down and focus more on the dynamic stretch and stability aspect of your workout. Talk to a personal trainer with marathon experience (such as myself) for help!
But remember, it is OK TO TAKE A BREAK from concentrated physical activity. What you DON’T want to do, however, is stop moving. Continue to do for daily walks, stay loose, and then ease back into working out (aka concentrated and focused physical activity).
Start to sort through the clothes and equipment that you know need to be replaced. Refer to my summer marathon training prep post from May and repeat–out with the worn out! You might want to wait a few weeks before really testing out a new set of running shoes, but you should have a back up pair in your rotation that have more stability and cushion (for more information on this, see my post on rotating running shoes).What is an inverse taper, + why does Coach Suz recommend it after a #marathon? #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet
Lastly? GIVE YOURSELF A FREAKING PAT ON THE BACK. But don’t throw it all away. Proper recovery is just as much an art as a proper taper! The marathon is a momentous occasion, but it isn’t the final finish line!
For those that have run marathons, how do you handle marathon recovery?
If you haven’t run a marathon before, how do you handle recovery after a big event?
I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.