You've trained for months, physically and mentally, for this Marathon and now that it's over, how do you recover and what's next? Runners are often iffy on when they should start running again after a marathon. The number one thing to remember is that everyone is different and some people will recover quicker than others. It's just the way your body is build. However, there are a few tricks that you can do to help maximize your bodies recovery process and get mentally ready for the next big training cycle.
First, get a massage to help relax your muscles and to flush the lactic acid out of your legs. Next, plan to take some days off from running. I usually recommend two weeks of no running to my ADrenaline Elite Runners and ADrenaline Runners. The first week is completely off - no running, biking, swimming, aqua jogging or hiking. Light yoga and walking is okay. The reason why I recommend this is to get away from the mental grind of training for a marathon. It can be very mentally draining waking up every morning to get your miles and workouts in and we should get away from it for at least a week to help our minds re-corporate. This will also make you want to get out there are start training even more
During your second week off, plan to have some cross training days. I usually recommend 3-4 days of cycling, swimming, aqua jogging, elliptical or hiking. This is meant to get your legs moving again in preparation to your next training cycle. These workouts should be light in intensity and you should not become sore from these bouts of exercises.
People are often afraid that this much time off will make them out of shape, lazy or increase in weight. this is not the case; you run way too much for this short break to get you out of shape, become lazy or gain a substantial amount of weight that you cannot recover from. It is very important to allow your body to recovery before you start to run and increase your intensity. if you return too soon, you'll risk becoming injured, overworked, over-trained, overly fatigued and mentally exhausted. You may not need the entire two weeks to recovery - most of my runners usually feel like they can run midway through their first week off but I still make them wait until the two week break is over. Your legs will be itching to get back to running and you'll get off to a great start! :)
In addition, continue to do the little things that kept you healthy during your marathon cycle. If you feel like your aches and pains are still lingering after your marathon or the marathon caused additional aches or pain, this is the time to get them treated. This is the most time off that your training cycles will allow so make an appointment to your favorite Chiropractor as soon as you can so these aches and pains heal quickly and you'll be ready to PR at your next marathon.
Amazing job if you ran the LA Marathon this past weekend and I hope for a speedy recovery!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or send me an email. I'd be more than happy to chat with you about running, recovery and training :D.
Thank you for reading,
Dr. Andres T. De La Cruz, D.C., CSCS
De La Cruz Chiropractic