How much recovery do you need after a marathon?
Whilst this varies runner to runner a general guide of a mile per day will serve you well when it comes to marathon revery. This does not mean that you can’t train in the 26-days following a marathon, however it’s a useful guide in terms of ensuring you don’t rush back to full training too quickly following a marathon.
The week after the marathon I would recommend at least two days off, before commencing with an easy run every other day for the following seven days. If you’re particularly sore or injured after the marathon don’t be afraid to take longer off or replace easy recovery runs with light cross training, such as an easy bike ride or swim, which can help with recovery and encourage blood flow to aching muscles. You have very little to gain at this stage, but you’re at a very high risk of injury immediately following the marathon so don’t rush back. Instead take time to do some ‘normal’ things and enjoy your week off. That doesn’t mean you should neglect your diet and nutrition, whilst I strongly urge you to treat yourself getting plenty of antioxidants and hydrating well in the days after your marathon will give you a head start when it comes to getting back out on the road again.
After the first few days you’ll notice you begin to take stairs a little easier and you can start to look ahead and plan future challenges. A few weeks of easy running will help your body and mind fully recover and help you get ready for goals. During the course of your marathon build up you will have accumulated a great deal of ‘base training’ of which you can utilise for your next block of training. Many runners often run personal bests over shorter distances if they are sensible after a marathon and respect the initial recovery process.
In summary, after a marathon respect the recovery process, don’t rush back too quickly and work out a formula that works for you. I always find after a good race I’m more eager to get back into the swing of things quickly but it’s still so important not to get carried away.
I have a range of marathon training plans and a marathon recovery plan ($4.99) available here to help give you structure and guidance and ensure your recovery after a marathon goes smoothly and sets you up for your next block of training and racing.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your marathon recovery!