Marathon Recovery (So Far)

It’s been ten days since the Houston Marathon so I figured I’d try to keep up my semi-regular blogging with a post on what I’ve been up to since the race.  (Spoiler: I haven’t really been up to anything, so feel free to stop reading now.)

tl;dr version:

One of the things that made me finally train for and run a marathon was a somewhat morbid curiosity about what would happen to my body after running that far.  How many toenails would I lose?  (Zero, amazingly, though the toenails I’ve kept are nasty.)  How hungry would I be immediately afterwards?  (Not very but then I inhaled a burger and fries for dinner.)  How sore would I feel?  

My legs cramped up right when I finished.  I kept walking past the finish line but it felt…odd.  And difficult.  I had to walk to get my finisher shirt and then walk to find my boyfriend and then walk even more to get back to the hotel.  Even though it was initially uncomfortable, I think all of the walking immediately after the race was good– my legs generally felt decent for the rest of the day.

On Monday the DOMS set in.  I expected this based on my other hard race efforts but what surprised me was the intensity.  For example, I know that moving from a sitting to standing position the day after a half marathon will be uncomfortable but the day after the marathon it was bad.  I would stand up and then curse myself for forgetting that standing up was terrible.  Walking up stairs was basically impossible, so on Tuesday (my first day back at the office) I took the elevator all the way up to the second floor.

So the answer to the question “How sore would I feel?” was “Ten times as sore as post-half marathon soreness for two days, then regular soreness for two days, then basically back to normal.”

In addition to a bit of walking I did some foam rolling those first few days.  We have a foam roller like this that I usually find too soft; however, it was perfect after the marathon when I was still very sore but wanted a little massage.

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-8-19-07-pm Other than that, I basically did nothing for a week and it was fantastic.  In the past I haven’t been great about giving myself real breaks after training cycles.  Usually I’ve taken a day or two off and then resumed easy running.  At some point during my marathon training I told myself that I was going to take at least an entire week completely off from exercise after the race.  Let me tell you: it was so necessary.  I used the extra 8+ hours in my week to get some much needed sleep (I was super tired for several days after the race) and do a lot of reading and binge watch The Crown and eat tons of ice cream and not think about when I needed to run or how fast I needed to run or how far I needed to run.  Clearly I needed a physical break– marathons really do beat you up!– but I think  needed the mental break even more.

Over the weekend I spent way too much time combining my love of Stranger Things with my love for race spectating.  This was the result:


On Sunday I had a great time cheering at mile 11 at the 3M Half Marathon.  It was fun to see some fellow Stranger Things fans get a kick out of the sign 🙂

After spending my Sunday morning watching other people run I felt a desire to ease back into running again.  I haven’t done very much but so far it’s gone well.  There are a bunch of races I’m interested in running this year (more on that in a later post) but I haven’t signed up for anything yet, which means that I’m looking forward to enjoying a few weeks of running when I feel like it and taking a day off when I feel like it.  It feels good to be a little physically active again but I’m prolonging my break from the confines of a training plan.

Here are this week’s activities (completed and planned):

  • Monday, 23-Jan: 2.6 miles easy running + foam rolling with the more intense foam roller
  • Tuesday, 24-Jan: 25 minutes yoga
  • Wednesday, 25-Jan: 4.2 miles easy running + foam rolling
  • Thursday, 26-Jan: 25 minutes yoga
  • Friday, 27-Jan: Maybe a little running or elliptical or just rest.
  • Saturday, 28-Jan: Group run, mileage TBD
  • Sunday, 29-Jan: Group run of 5-6 miles
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One Response to Marathon Recovery (So Far)

  1. Pingback: The Rocky Road Back to Running | Rungry

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