Weekly Recap – 12.15.19 – Marathon Recovery Tips

Marathon Recovery Running

This week started out in the best way possible!  A brand, new shiny PR of 3:40:45!  I would have loved to have crossed the finish line with a brand, new shiny Boston Qualifying time, but I am so incredibly happy with a 14 minute PR.  The rest of the week was spent recovering, and I want to share some of my tried and true marathon recovery tips.

I wrote all about my marathon experience here.  It was truly one of the best races I’ve ever run, up until mile 20.  I am so happy with my performance and had an incredible experience.  There’s something truly indescribable about the experience of finishing a marathon.

I will say that I don’t honestly think the carb deplete before the marathon had much of an impact.  I didn’t feel like I had more energy during the marathon than what I typically do, and didn’t feel like I needed any less intra-race fuel.  It also wasn’t a particularly fun experience for me, and while I don’t think it hampered anything, I don’t plan on utilizing it for any future races.  I’m glad I gave it a shot, but I also love carbs too much to give them up in the future without really good results.

After the race, we spent some time with friends who live in Dallas, and enjoyed some burgers, fries, and ice cream once my stomach was mostly done being mad at me.  Monday we traveled to my dad’s house, and spent one night with him.  Tuesday we drove back home.  All that driving after a full marathon is definitely hard on the body.  I made sure to walk around as much as I could, and I also spent a good amount of time stretching both Monday and Tuesday.  I felt fairly stiff and sore most of the day Monday, but woke up feeling pretty decent Tuesday.  Wednesday I slept in until right before work (a big change from waking up to run before work).  I got caught up on sleep Mon-Wed, and it felt so amazing to stock up on rest, especially after spending so many weeks intentionally putting my body into a state of cumulative fatigue.

Wednesday I was still feeling a little tight, but not sore.  I was also starting to get a little stir crazy, so I decided to drop in for a WOD during lunch.  I kept the weight incredibly light and modified the double unders to singles.  I just wanted to move my body a bit.  Thursday, I was feeling good again, so I decided to test out the legs, and went for a 3 mile run.  It felt amazing in all honesty.  Running is such an emotional release for me that after just a couple of days without running things start to feel heavy.  I wanted to keep up the movement momentum, and on Friday I went to CrossFit during lunch.  I lifted a little heavier this time, but still much lighter than typical.

It felt really great to take some time to rest, and then to come back to movement.  It made me reflect on what a gift it is to have a body that lets me do hard things.  And now that Dallas is complete, I get to start thinking about what will be the next goal that me and my body are going to chase down.

Marathon Recovery Running
Recovery Runs & Christmas decorations

Marathon Recovery Plan

Most of this week has been heavily focused on post marathon recovery.  Putting yourself back together after a hard race can take as much mindfulness and preparation as actually running the marathon, and I usually follow a pretty set marathon recovery plan.   I’ve found over the last few years though, marathon recovery time and effectiveness varies quite a bite.  This is the first marathon in a long time where I’m not nursing some sort of illness, and I feel like I can spend a few days recovering and then get back into training.  This may bite me in butt later, but I think we’ve all learned that I’m not generally one whose interested in playing things cautiously.

Marathon Recovery Tips

So here are a couple of marathon recovery tips and tricks that have been helping me recover after Dallas.  Usually, I force myself to take a painful ice bath immediately after the marathon, but I didn’t have access to a tub this time.  Not ideal, but I’m not crying about it.  I have been taking warm Epsom salt baths almost every day.  I can’t definitively say it’s been helping me, but I do think it alleviates some muscle soreness, and it’s damn relaxing. 

As you can see above, I’ve been getting a lot more sleep this week than a typical week.  I took some good naps after our drives on both Monday and Tuesday, and slept pretty late on Wednesday.  The body has an easier time rebuilding torn muscles during sleep and rest, so the extra sleeps have been giving my body a lot of opportunity to repair.

I can’t lie and say that my diet has been the best, but I have been making sure I get a good amount of protein in.  Similar to sleep, protein helps muscles repair after being broken down during the race.  I’ve also been trying to make sure I drink a lot of water, as it helps flush out all the damaged cells, or so I’ve been told. 

One of my favorite marathon recovery tips is using a Hypervolt.  It’s a great percussion massager, and it’s definitely helped loosen up the muscles in my calves and hips.  It’s kind of like a foam roller…super charged.  I’m not taking any fancy supplements, or trying out any new, innovative ways to recover, but making sure to follow the basics has really helped me to recover well in less than a week. 

Interestingly, when I did some quick Google research on recovery tips after running a marathon, I found that I unintentionally followed this plan recommended by Runners World pretty closely.  I may be jumping back into training quite a bit faster than what is recommended after this initial recovery week, and it’s not something I’d recommend for most runners.  But I’m willing to give it a shot, and see what happens.  I created a simple Marathon Recovery Checklist, please feel free to Pin or download the PDF version from my Resources page for quick reference!

Marathon Recovery Checklist

This Weeks Workouts

Weekly Workouts

Total Miles: 35.4
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 0
How the Runs Felt
Well, the marathon felt hard and amazing.  I was pleasantly surprised how good my 3 miler felt.  My calves were a little tight afterwards, but everything else felt good.  I kept it light and easy pace-wise.  On Saturday, I set out for a longer run and thought that I’d do 6 miles out and back, and tack on 2 more if I was feeling good.  I was feeling good after the 6, but I also felt ready to be done running for the day, so I decided to listen and stop.  Next week will be more structured, and it was nice to just listen to my intuition on this run.

What I’ve Been Listening To
During the marathon, I listened to Disorganized Crime,  GingerRunner Live, and Don’t Keep Your Day Job.  I’m so glad that I ended with Don’t Keep Your Day Job; it was so encoruaging and motivating, and really got me through that though the last 10k.

How the WODs felt
My two WODs this week were light and easy, and felt great.

Marathon Recovery Crosstraining
Getting at those baby weights

What Went Well
EVERYTHING.  The marathon was amazing.  The extra rest was amazing.  Coming back slowly has been amazing.  This is a rare instance where I have zero complaints. I also took advantage of the extra downtime to spend more time with my boys. We walked around the neighborhood and saw some Christmas lights on Thursday, and Saturday morning our son had his first flag football game. It was chilly and drizzly, so the fake turf was really slippery. It was pretty hilarious watching a bunch of six year olds running around on that field, and I’m so glad we were able to go as family.

Marathon Recovery Time
Both boys looking at Christmas lights

What Went Shitty
The only rough spot in the week was traveling the two days following the marathon.  I am glad we were able to break up the trip and didn’t spend more than about 3 hours in the car on either day, but it definitely resulted in some sore muscles and stiff joints.

Plans to Improve Next Week
I’m still mulling over a couple of things.  I have the option to jump right back into training and give the BQ time one more attempt before summer.  Summer starts here in Texas promptly on April 1st, so my window is not exactly big.  I know I’d like to run a 50 miler in early fall 2020, and a Boston Qualifying time over the summer just isn’t realistic.  If I choose to wait, I’ll keep running 4-5 times a week to maintain a solid base until I start ultra training around May.  I’m going to give myself another couple of nights, and realistically I may just give training for a late spring marathon a shot and see how I feel.  Lots in limbo, but also lots of possibilities.

Marathon Recovery Time
Post-game smile!

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