Granted, I've only done this three times so far- but I am always amazed at how intense the post-marathon recovery process can be. Every recovery so far has been a little different, likely because all three races involved different levels of training and experience, different race conditions, or just varying physical conditions of my body at the time. But a few things do seem to be consistent in the recovery process from marathon to marathon...
1) Muscle Soreness- While the first two days or more post-race do involve muscle soreness (perhaps I should put that in all caps?), I've found that I'm at my most uncomfortable just after I cross the finish line.
Remedy: I've learned the best way to overcome this is to keep moving and keep going about my regular routine. I'm certain that sitting down right after the race, or staying in bed for days post-race would be the worst thing I could do.
2) Getting Sick - I either get sick or come close to it after every race-- usually some kind of a cold or flu-onset feeings. If you think about all of the germs you encounter during a marathon day, combined with all the finger food you consume-- yuck!-- this should not be such a surprise. Not to mention you're typically sleep deprived out of excitement the few days before.
Remedy: Baby yourself and go on high-germ alert during the post-race week. Go to bed early every night you can, wash hands a lot, eat healthy, etc. If I stay on top of those things I can usually fight off whatever sickness is headed my way.
3) FATIGUE- This qualifies as all caps because it's a sneaky fatigue. Aside from a few easy walks during the post-race week, I lay off running altogether. Towards the end of the week I start feeling great in my day to day activities- and start getting anxious to run again. It has been the same every race. By 7 days later I think I'm ready to jump back into my regular training routine-- and that first recovery run back I get a HUGE reminder that I ran 26.2 miles 7 days before! It's a hard feeling to describe. I'm not sore, not injured -- I just 'don't have it'.
Remedy: Patience. My first week back to running I run no more than 3-4 miles per day, and keep those runs REALLY easy. Gradually, toward the end of the week I start feeling like myself again on runs.
Today Dallas welcomed in 2 inches of snow just in time for a White Christmas!! So I put in 5 miles on the treadmill. It was the best-feeling run I've had since December 13th. So things are getting back to normal-- it just takes time. :-)
I've already had some people contact me that they are very interested in joining the Team and running in marathon or half-marathon in June for Susan's Foundation. This is such incredible news! Getting this team started just feels right. This is not something I can do alone. I may be taking a cue from how Susan lived her life here, but it just seems that everything in life is so much more successful and more meaningful when we're in it together!!
As you celebrate the holidays and the time for New Year's resolutions comes up-- please consider joining the Team and running for Susan's Foundation. It is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience and certainly could not be done for a greater cause.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!
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- ▼ December (23)