Here is the emotional roller coaster of training for me:
1 – Sign up for marathon, build mileage and become deeply entrenched in training. I love it so much. It is all I want to do. Why am I not fast enough to be a professional runner?
2 – Build more mileage and freak out that (a) I will get injured from running (b) I will get injured from my own clumsiness (imagine tripping on dog toy, falling down stairs, ect) (c) unforeseen circumstances will prevent race (alien invasion, tornado, . Will not allow significant other to touch my feet for fear the tiny bones in feet will shatter. So glad I’m not a professional runner because my career would be ruined by the pending doom of injury.
3 – As peak week approaches – complain to all runner friends about how tired and sore I am, just want peak weak to be over. They agree with nodding and add their own aliments to the list. We agree on those things. We secretly love them. Maybe it is not such a secret.
4 – Spend all of the taper hating the lower mileage and convinced I cannot run. I have forgotten how. Oh god. Maybe I should should just do a tempo run. Just to see if I can still do it. No, don’t do that. Continue to eat like I am running 70 miles a week when I am running 30 miles a week. Try not to drive significant other, family and non running friends crazy. How long can I go without saying the word marathon? Take dog on excessively long walks. Clean baseboards.
5 – Run marathon. The last 10k of marathon promise self that I will not run for a month after this. Just get through this, and you never have to run again. So. Much. Pain.
6 – Finish marathon and immediately want to do it again. How long can I wear this medal before it gets weird?
Ok, so now that you know where I am coming from, we can talk about the post marathon repercussions recovery. There is the first few days of being very very sore. I have done four marathons now, and each has been a very different, yet all encompassing, kind of soreness. The California International marathon and the Chicago marathon were flat courses. They were also my first two marathons. So while the soreness was intense, it didn’t last more than 2-3 days.
Revel Canyon City has about 5,000 feet of elevation drop in the first 13 miles. The soreness after this race was the worst I have ever felt. It also probably did not help that after finishing the race and taking an ice bath, I got on a plane and flew home. I distinctly remember trying to walk down the stairs 4 days after, and it taking FOREVER. Like, one stair at a time, mind numbing ouchness. That’s a word.
Boston was a lot of soreness as well. The course itself – the descent followed by the hills, really beats up your body. Combined with the heat, the stiffness the next morning was REAL. The saving grace with both Boston and Chicago was that we walked around the cities after the race. I think that is the best thing you can do to help the soreness. Also just don’t even think about wearing jeans. Just don’t. You just ran a marathon. You get this one. Do I take it too far by wearing yoga pants and/or sweats exclusively for the next week? Maybe. Judge me.
In all seriousness, I think everyone is unique in their recovery process. I am not the gospel, but instead am telling you what I am doing/have done in the past.
After the California International Marathon – I had a dream recovery. I think I took a full two weeks off running, and then went to Costa Rica for 2 weeks. No exercise was done there except the activities like zip lining, getting hit in the face with a surfboard surfing, and seeing how many cocktails I could drink before falling asleep on the beach (1.5, I’m the most fun date).
After Chicago, not so much. I didn’t get the Boston Qualifying time for Boston 2018 that I wanted, so I jumped right into the Revel Canyon City marathon a month later. I wouldn’t change what I did for the world, but I did feel pretty exhausted mentally.
After Revel Canyon City, I hired a coach. I didn’t take much time off running, but we did spend a lot of time running easy. While I think this was fine for my body, it might have been a lot mentally. I also did not get a really super delicious post race meal(s) – and IT STILL BOTHERS ME. I rushed to the airport to catch an earlier flight home and there was nothing open in that airport. Can’t let it go.
Post Boston, I have spent the past week eating whatever I wanted, and not exercising in any way. I want to specifically address the food thing with you guys, because I felt absolutely ravenous for a solid 4 days after Boston. The first 2 days were easy. I just ate more if I was hungry. And I certainly have no problem eating some sweets and treats the day of a marathon and the day after. But 3 and 4 days into it, I had those little voices of doubt in my head. Maybe I should slow down on eating so much? Because the last time I ran was AGES (4 days) ago.
Luckily, I am older and wiser and have learned to recognize these doubtful little voices. Food is fuel. Food is part of recovery. Eat the food.
I did pretty well not running while we were still playing tourist in Boston. But when we got back home, and the sun was out, and people were out running around, it was really hard not to go for a run or get my bike out. Even though I was so sick with a cold that I couldn’t pronounce D’s or B’s. Luckily, Bennie The Dog, John, and Peaky Blinders on Netflix helped me through this.
I went for my first run since Boston yesterday morning, and it was wonderful. I felt great, and throughly enjoyed myself. As hard as the taper is, the recovery might be harder. Both are infinitely worth the experience. And I do think I have gotten better at both with practice!
What is your favorite way to recover?
How many days do you feel sore after a marathon?