Recovery running


This is is how I imagine I look when I run, but alas, looking at 99% of my race photos, this is far from true.  Having run a difficult marathon in the wind and cold four days ago, I am considering a recovery run today.  I’ve read many articles on how runners of all shapes and sizes and levels of ability approach recovery.  As I have progressed as a runner, I’ve learned that I have to adapt and personalize my recovery, and can’t use a bottled recovery plan.

After the marathon on Saturday, my body felt pretty wrecked.  My hips, and knees were just sore beyond belief.  I certainly have walked away from other marathons easier than I did this past weekend.  The wind forced me to work harder, resulting in more aches and pains.  The day after, on Sunday, I felt even worse, plus I had to work that afternoon.  I wasn’t ready for a run, and didn’t plan on one.  Sunday came and went, leading to Monday.  I could have run on Monday, but wasn’t feeling ready.  No problem.  The aches and pains were still there, but the hips felt much better.  Just some knee pain, but a fading pain.  Tuesday came, and my thought was to wait another day to run.  Like magic, over the course of the day, my legs felt back to normal.  No more pains of any kind.  That leads me to today.  So, I think I am ready for a short distance run.  Thinking maybe a two miler.

It is extremely important to listen to your body, and this doesn’t happen overnight.  I’ve made many mistakes over the past few years, but the good thing is, I’ve learned from my mistakes.  Running when your body isn’t ready will just lead to injury, so learn to listen.  Taking an extra day or two off will only help.  I’ve learned that resting can be just as beneficial sometimes.  Focus on keeping the body healthy.

I am going to start back slowly, with no target pace in mind other than slow.  If I’m not feeling it, I will end it early.

The running community is a great one, full of ideas, tricks and tips.  If you have any suggestions on recovery, what has worked for you, please share.  Would love to hear your recovery techniques.

11 thoughts on “Recovery running

  1. They say you should take a day off for each mile of your race – But that is unlikely for most of us. We want to run! I’ve only run once since the Dopey. It wasn’t great. I’m waiting for my body to tell me it wants to go again! Should be soon.

  2. I take it really easy for a full week after a race.. I do try to reach a respectable amount of mileage, but all at an easy pace.. until my legs feel completely rested and ready for some speed work.

  3. I actually find that running helps me recover – after my last marathon, I went for a recovery jog the very next day. However, I really need to put this into perspective: these jogs are ridiculously slow and not very long (something like 7min/km pace for 4km). It can hardly be viewed as any kind of workout and I don’t see it as such at all. However, they do really help me losen up my tight muscles and I always feel better afterwards. I keep doing runs like that for at least a week after a marathon. I enjoy these runs massively, they are a celebration of all the hard work I’ve done, both mentally and physically. I have yet to run a race where I can’t or don’t want to go for a recovery jog the next day; however, if my body told me not to do it, I’d certainly listen and not force it. I then gradually build them up to resemble more normal easy runs over the course of the next two or three weeks. Eventually, usually after around three weeks, I feel that some speed is returning to my legs and I can start thinking about some structured training again. I never jump straight back into another race specific training scedule, but I do start to structure my runs, do longer runs on the weekend again and many run some hill sessions in preparation for more speedwork. All in all, I can only advise you to enjoy the recovery – you’ve literally earned it!

  4. This year is my first ever marathon — in June — and I’ll really have to see how I feel after that. However, after the half marathons I’ve ran I’ve felt fairly good the next day … except the weekend I signed up for the Double Half Mary, where I ran a half marathon on both Saturday and Sunday.

    But my biggest problem is not pushing it and staying inactive when I probably should stay inactive. I want to get out and do something. I’m worried right now because I’m on a 61-day run streak, but as I start adding up the miles I might just need to take a step back and let that streak fall by the wayside.

    Do you have any advice for someone who is still a novice at this sport?

    • I would be very careful not to overdo it in training. You have to make sure that you have given your legs the time to rest and recover before that marathon. Still put in the training, but rest days are important. I have never done a run streak, because of this. Days off are really important. You want to have fresh legs for the big day. If you overtax your body, and not give it any rest, you will regret it on race day. Especially important for that first marathon, when you haven’t yet seen what happens to your body beyond mile 16, 18, 20…… Best of luck.

      • Yeah, those long long runs are where I’m worried when it comes to giving up the streak. If it comes down to it, my training and being strong/ready for the race is more important than a streak that I can restart at any time.

        Thanks for the feedback.

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