Perhaps you’ve already run your fall marathon, or maybe your marathon is coming up shortly. You might be wondering what you should do afterwards to get back to running strongly.
To answer that question you have to gauge how much damage you did to your body in your race. If you raced hard, the rule of thumb is that you need an easy day of recovery (though not necessarily complete rest) for every hard mile raced. After a hard marathon effort, then, you might need up to four weeks to feel like your old self again.
In addition to that general rule, however, there are several considerations:
- Did you run negative splits? If the answer is yes, you might be on the road to a faster recovery, since you did not push your body to its very limits.
- If you did run slower in the back half of your race, was it due to fatigue or something else? If it was fatigue, then you might need a month or more to fully recover. But if it was due to dehydration or cramping – issues that can slow you down but which do not indicate that you have caused damage to your muscles – then your recovery might be faster than you expected.
- How sore were you the following few days? The more sore you are, the more recovery you need.
In general, you should aim for your recovery plan to mirror your race taper, and then adjust it up or down according to how you answered the above questions. Spend the first day or two after the race just walking easily, and then spend some time cross-training. By the weekend after your race, you should be ready for some easy running. Good luck!