Sunday, May 9, 2010

Post-marathon recovery

Hope you had a WONDERFUL MOTHERS' DAY!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my marathon report! Overwhelming is what it is! I even gained a few new readers. On reflection, despite all the agony and the cramping calves at the NJ Marathon, I handled the heat a lot better than it seemed at the time. Maybe it is my Indian origin. Though I have run nowhere close to this distance while in India, I am sure living through sweltering 95+ degree summers for 26 years of my life must have helped condition me to the heat to some extent. I did suffer through it and feel it was a minor miracle that I did not end up a casualty of the race, but in light of this new theory, I don't feel like much of a hero.

As you know, recovering from a marathon is almost as confusing as tapering for one. There is a lot of (often conflicting) information on how best to return to your regular running schedule after marathon. While post-marathon recovery varies for different individuals, there are some standards. Recommendations vary from 26 days of no hard running or racing, to no running the first week then reverse tapering to simply trusting your body. Some websites advise no activity whatsoever, except light walking during the first week. No cross training, nothing! What is your marathon/half marathon recovery plan?

Funnily enough, following various runners' recovery on blogland and DailyMile, I realized that by Day 2 after the marathon, runners are itching to return to running. By Day 3, some have attempted at least one run. By the end of the week, most people have run at least 10-20 miles.
While I was mentally ready to run on Tuesday, my body vehemently disagreed. Till Thursday, calves were hurting and tender to touch and my quads, which seemed to have fared well during the race, were screaming. Walking down stairs was especially tough. I developed a sort of sideways shuffle, which worked...sort of. I swam on Monday and Tuesday (a lot easier than walking), walk/trotted on Wednesday and managed an extremely slow jog for most of the 3 miles on Thursday. By Saturday, I was well enough for a short run with the group at the towpath, albeit slow.

After the run yesterday, DH and I went on a bike ride at the towpath.


The towpath had been patched in several spots after the frequent floods last year, so it was a bumpy ride.


An anxious, angry pappa gander hissing at us, warning us to stay away from his new family...

An unexpected sight, right on the path...

We also saw a fat snake slithering into a bush...too quick for a pic.

We packed a picnic lunch and carried it with us. With Frank Forerunner in Biking mode, we biked 7.75 miles one way and found a nice spot by the canal for lunch.

No pics of lunch...it disappeared too fast! We biked back, stomachs full. On most of these outings, we spend an awful lot of time preparing and packing food..and it ends up being the highlight of the trip! Needless to say, the return trip with lighter backpacks and heavier stomachs, was less enthusiastic and more sluggish. By the time we got back to the car, our butts were quite sore. My quads were exhausted. But the soreness from the race is almost all gone.

15 comments:

ajh said...

I have to confess I usually take a week off after a marathon. It is a time to get caught up on work I neglected during marathon training and a time to let my body heal. Everyone is very different with this.

Marlene said...

I've already found myself wondering what I'll do next week post-marathon. I'll likely just listent o my body and see what it wants to do.

Great job on that bike ride... looks like a beautiful place and the picnic is a nice idea!

Erica said...

I can't imagine what recovery after a marathon must feel like. Such great outdoor time this weekend. Looks beautiful :) Glad the snake moved too quick for a pic ;)

chris mcpeake said...

Take it easy, rest up and enjoy the victory

Ewa said...

We are all so different in the way our bodies recover. Some are able to run right after the marathon and some need a longer period of rest. Just listen to your body.
Biking is really cool as long as you don't encounter geese. :) Those can be nasty.

Irene said...

Each marathon has been different for me. After my first marathon I didn't want to move, because I couldn't. After my marathon last year I was ready to go after a couple of days.

Those geese can be mean! They used to tease my sister's dogs something awful!

Beth said...

I usually go for walks and then am ready to run a little after a week. Sounds like you had a good week and a very nice bike ride. I love the pictures! I hope you continue to enjoy your recovery- you deserve it!

Meg said...

I so agree with your post on the recovery part of a marathon. By day three, I'm almost depressed if I'm not back to running and especially if I don't have a plan for then next one! I forced myself to take it easier this time and by today, I was back to a tempo run and enjoying fresh legs. It's been about three weeks since my marathon!
I loved the turtle picture but I'm sad you didn't take a picture of your lunch, maybe next time!

lindsay said...

it all depends on how i feel and what i have time for... sometimes i feel fine and am still motivated, so i do a few short, easy runs. i never crank up the intensity, that's for sure! i do try to at least do some sort of activity -- walk, hike, etc. but i give myself a couple weeks of chilling out and not being so anal about my miles. :)

obviously when something hurts post-marathon i take enough time off for it to get better

Abby said...

It's funny, I've always found marathon recovery to be sort of humbling. A few days after my first one, I went on a hiking trip with some of my roommates, and I was shocked at how hard I was breathing hiking up hill with a pack on. I remember thinking, I just ran 26.2 miles - this should not be hard! It was a good reminder that you have to give your body a chance to breathe before you push it too hard again.

Tricia said...

Great pics!

Heather said...

Sounds like a great recovery week. Last year, I took a week off without running after the marathon. We'll see what happens this year . . . :)

Chandra said...

Love the way you write Kavitha...reading about the relaxed bike ride makes me feel relaxed too !

X-Country2 said...

What a great bike adventure. Beautiful!

Emily said...

Sounds like a great way to recover. Again, I never could have run in those high temps. I think genetics definitely play a role.

I still haven't had the desire to run over 6 miles at a time since my half marathon in April. Partly the weather, but partly I'm ready for something new until the fall!