written by runnergirl training
Is there life after a marathon (or half marathon, etc)? The answer is yes and it takes a bit of planning just like you did to arrive at the starting line.
It may seem like after crossing the finish line of the big race there is no need to plan anything. The couch and copious amounts of junk food seem to be calling out for you. It takes a few weeks to recover from a half or full marathon (especially depending on your training and conditioning level). Allow 2-3 weeks to recover. That means it starts with a plan.
What is zero week you ask? It is the first week following the big race. Take the first few days off to rest completely. That means you are off of your feet as much as possible. Remember to hydrate and refuel with quality nutrition. Your body is rebuilding all of the damage caused by the race. You are very susceptible to catching a cold, flue, etc during this time due to your body being so depleted. Try to avoid crowds if possible. You can focus on foam rolling, stretching, yoga, etc to restore muscle and joint mobility. Everything can get quite overused following heavy mileage.
After 5-6 days of rest (or at least as low level of activity that your schedule allows) then look at slowly adding in non-impact exercise. This may include a short slow to moderate pace walk, riding a bike, using the elliptical. Keep the intensity or heart rate range low to moderate. Avoid resistance training (weight lifting, body weight exercises, etc) for 2-3 weeks. You are easing your body back into movement during this time.
Focus this week or two on rest, recovery & nutrition. This is will help you to avoid being sick, injured and ready to start training for your next goal.
What is your next goal?
Sometimes it is hard to even think about planning for your next race after you are recovering from the previous one. Even if you can’t imagine training for a race simply pick whatever goals are going to help keep you moving. Maybe it is to increase your weekly cycling mileage. Maybe it is to walk with your friends or family every weekend at the park. If racing is what really motivates you then try a virtual race or short distance races to keep the energy alive! Find a goal that ignites you. This will help you stay active which in turn assists in running recovery!
I suggest planning 1-2 months of small goals past your race. This is also effective to keep the post race blues away. Having goals to follow is what helps keep you moving forward long after the finish line.