The week AFTER the marathon

The week AFTER the marathon

As a long distance runner, the week AFTER a marathon is one of my least favorite times of the year.  The day or two after the big race are great.  I’m sore as I’ll get out but my emotions and adrenaline are still going strong from the race.  Somewhere around 3-4 days post marathon things start heading south.  I really start to miss running.  If you are a marathon runner you know what I’m talking about and if you’re not let me try to explain.  Basically, you spend 18 weeks training for this one big race.  It consumes an enormous amount of time and energy and  many times throughout this 18 week period you question your own sanity.  Why are you doing this again? Why the many early mornings? Why the running on treadmills, in the cold, in the rain, on hills, speed work?   WHY?  When running has become a part of who you are the real question is not why it is WHY NOT?  Somehow an unlikely relationship is formed between you and your training plan.  You mark off the days as they go by and you stick to your schedule.  You check it each night to see what you have in store for the next day. Adding up your weekly mileage provides reassuring satisfaction that you are going to be ready for your race.

After the big race your schedule is no longer necessary and suddenly you are on your own.  The week AFTER the marathon always reminds me how much I love marathon training.  I do not always feel this way during the process but when it’s all said and done who am I kidding?  I am a sucker for marathon training.

Before LRM I told my husband that I would take a full week off running after the race.  I told him to hold me to that no matter how much I wanted to run.  I knew my body needed the recovery after a course like Little Rock.  The first few days were fine because I was so sore and my hip was still hurting.  Yesterday and today have been hard days not to run.  But I know I need the full week.  I have been telling myself that the best thing I can do for myself for Boston is to rest this week.  Boston is now just 5 weeks from Monday.  Obviously, I am not going to accomplish a lot of training between now and then.  Recovery and tapering will take up most of that time.

So what have I done this week?

Slept in.
Baked. A lot.
Ate like I was running 80+ miles.

The kids just started spring break yesterday so we had a little picnic at the park.   The weather is just starting to warm up and I’m getting so excited about SPRING!

Whenever I would start to feel guilty about not running (and believe me- it’s extremely hard to turn off the running switch) I had to remind myself that I need this mini break.  My body and mind need to relax.  I will start back next week but I will ease into it with some easy runs.  I am working on a schedule which I will post in the next few days.  It’s from Advanced Marathoning, by Pete Pfitzinger.  I have followed Pfitzinger’s back to back marathon plans before and they work for me. I would highly recommend them if you are ever thinking about doubling up.

My favorite running book
I know that many people run just a few days after a marathon and in the past I have been one of them.  I think it depends on each person.  My body is more susceptible to injury when I jump back into things too quickly.   Last year’s LRM left me with patellar tendonitis for 5 months.  I am hoping that when I try to run tomorrow my knees and my right hip will cooperate.  We’ll see….
How soon do you like to run after a marathon?
Are you running Boston this year?

19 thoughts on “The week AFTER the marathon

  1. Tia I love this!! It is hard to rest for sure. I usually take a week off at least. I have been in a funk since my marathon because I have no race on the horizon. I MUST get one on my calendar. I am amazed that you can run marathons so close together, especially at your level. I am now reading Advanced Marathoning for the 3rd time and am considering taking the leap and using his 18/55 plan. I’ve always felt like it would be too difficult for me. Having run 50+ miles my last training cycle I think I’m ready. Do you tweak it? or stick to his recommendations. (granted I’m older and slower than you…just want to hit 3:35 this fall πŸ™‚ Enjoy your rest and time with the kiddos this week!!!!! That makes all the hard work worth it πŸ™‚

    1. Go for it Danielle! I’m sure you would do great with it. You’ve got a great base and if you did fine with 50+ this past training cycle you would do fine with the 18/55. I know that the increased mileage has helped my marathon time drop.

      I do tweak the schedule some. I adjust days for when I can do them and sometimes I’ll add or take away a few miles from the easy days. It usually averages about the same mileage wise by the end of the week.

  2. Snap! When I can’t run, I bake a lot too. Does baking give you endorphins too? Or is the high you get just a sugar rush from taste-testing?

    1. Ha!! Maybe both! I made several batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade cinnamon rolls too. I definitely need to start running again before this gets out of control!

  3. Oh mt goodness…I think you wrote just about every little detail of how I felt last week. I hope your first run was great and there was no lingering issues. I can’t wait to follow your Boston training/tapering!

  4. love “Advanced Marathoning” it really covers everything you need to know about marathoning, training, etc. πŸ™‚

    Love this post Tia. πŸ™‚ Are you speaking to me?! πŸ˜‰ After today’s race (my hammie is pretty store & I currently have an icy hot patch on it) I know that I’ll have to rest for a few days. You are so right! We runners get used to our running schedule and when there’s consecutive days when we aren’t out there doing what we love it hurts a little. It feels like there’s milk missing in my/our cereal. πŸ™‚ We work so, soo hard to attain a certain level of fitness so, maybe the *guilt* of NOT running has to do with negative thoughts of loss of fitness. Boston is right around the corner! We’ll both be healthy & ready for great races Tia!! πŸ™‚ Happy Spring Break my friend!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Pam! I hope to be healthy. I love marathons but why must they take so much out on our bodies? Maybe it’s just the one I did. I just realized that of my 7 marathons I have recovered fine from 5 of them. The two I’ve had issues were both after the Little Rock Marathon. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe the course? Ughhhh. Ready to be back to normal but I know it’s just been a week and I cannot rush things. It’s just hard not to when Boston is breathing down my neck!

    2. I completely understand. πŸ™‚ I’ve noticed that the harder courses (hills) do take a little more time to recover from. LRM is def. categorized as “tough!” You’ll be feeling like yourself in no time! I know I can’t believe Boston is almost here!

  5. I take whatever time I need. If the race was Sunday, I’m usually happy to be running a few miles by Thursday, but I don’t have to. Now that I run more miles I don’t feel as crazy about taking the week after the marathon off. Even with tapering, marathon week winds up being at least 40 miles, and I can be pretty happy on 40 miles. When I ran a lot less, I’d feel like I almost taking a month off with the taper and recovery (which made me nuts).

    And yes! I’m running Boston! The numbers are out. Have you checked yours yet? I’m wondering if we’re in the same coral… πŸ™‚

  6. I’m so impressed that you were able to take a full week off training after the marathon, especially considering Boston is so close on the horizon. I know that is exactly what you SHOULD do but it is so hard to ACTUALLY do! I ran a marathon last June and planned to run a second one 5 weeks later. I felt so good after the first race that I ran 6 miles just two days after my marathon and ended up with a foot injury that kept me from running for almost three full months!! Now that I’m planning to attempt another back-to-back, this time I really will take a full week off after Boston before resuming training for the 2nd one. I need to learn from you that it really is okay to take a week off!

    1. Taking a full week is hard to do and not one for everyone. The main two reasons I did it were because of the LRM course (hard and usually leaves me injured or injury prone!) and because I am planning on running another marathon within a few weeks. If LRM were an easier course I might not have stretched it out so far. My hip issue really had me worried so I felt like I needed the extra few days. (mentally and physically)

      Thanks for your comment. It’s all a learning experience!

  7. It sounds like you are really in tune with your body and know what’s best, but I will say that my coach is a HUGE proponent of “active” recovery. He had me get out there and start running–very easy–about 3 days after my last marathon (I totally whined because I thought I should be “resting.” He did not agree. Lol.) Now, I wasn’t ready and had overdone it during the marathon, unfortunately, so that plan didn’t work out for me. I was on the elliptical the day after that recovery run… Anyway, just wanted to give you a different perspective because it sounds like you believe that you *shouldn’t* run, which isn’t the case. Maybe next time just see how a couple of VERY easy runs go if you feel like it?

    1. Thanks for offering this perspective. πŸ™‚ I know more and more people are doing active recovery these days. I should have stressed that this is what I have found works for ME but I know that many others have good results from slow recovery work just a few days after the race. I have tried the running 3-4 days after my marathon before and to me it really depends on the marathon. For easier courses it’s not a problem (although I prefer 4-5 days). But this particular one leaves me in a rough state. Last year this race left me with a knee issue that lasted 5 months. The random hip pain that started during mile 14 really scared me so I just wanted to give myself a few extra days.

      I know every one recovers differently. I feel like I am more prone to injuries when I try to get back too quickly. I should do more research on it though because I’m sure your coach is right about it. Thanks Allison!

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