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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marathon Recovery Part 2

Well you finished your marathon and followed all the steps I talked about in part 1 on race day.

What next?
The things you do in the weeks following a marathon can help you recover or set you up for an injury.   Here are a few ideas to ease back into working out.

Reverse TrainingBasically run the last three weeks of your training plan in reverse. It’s called a reverse taper. You will gradually get ramped back up. The two days after your marathon should be rest days, just like the two days before your marathon.

Here is an example of how that might look for an Intermediate runner;
Week 1;
Two days of rest, 30 minutes of running alternating with 30 minutes of cross training and a long run of about an hour on the weekend.

Week 2
You can increase the easy runs or cross training days to 45 minutes.  If you feel up to it you can do some very easy speed work.

Week 3
Increase training time to 60 minutes; add both speed work and tempo runs that were equal to what you did three weeks before your marathon.

Cross Training
Don’t jump right back into running every day, even if you had no problems running every day when training for your marathon. This is the time to practice active rest by using activities like swimming, cycling and yoga for the first couple of weeks following your marathon.  Avoid over-doing high impact activities like running.

If you are craving something, eat it, but generally keep your diet healthy and high in complex carbohydrates, just like you did when training.

You may feel super confident coming off your marathon. Hold off on racing for at least a month unless you are an experienced long distance runner. Jumping back into racing too soon sets you up for an over use injury. 

You may be more tired for the first couple of weeks after the marathon.  Get extra rest. I find I need after work naps, especially the first week post marathon. Listen to your body and sleep if you feel tired. My body uses sleep to repair, so I get extra rest post marathon.

Listen to your body. If you are sore post race, hold off on speed work and ease carefully back into your training.   Give your body the rest and time it needs to recover from your marathon.

Chris Wodke

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