Life has been so busy lately! The marathon we ran last week could not have come at a better time, because I barely have time to do anything besides work these days. Although I love training and racing, it takes up a lot of my time and energy. I have really been enjoying this recovery period that is all about resting and taking it easy. Now that the race is over I feel more able and motivated to focus on work, grad school, and wedding planning!
So, how have I been recovering from the marathon that exceeded all my expectations and left me totally and completely tapped out?
As far as what I did immediately following the race to begin the recovery process, I ate right away (what I could stomach), drank water, stretched, and had a Nuun electrolyte drink when I got back to the hotel. I showered and put on my recovery socks, then ate a real meal. I drank lots and lots of water the rest of the day, and we walked around some too, which I swear helps with the recovery of your legs and getting the lactic acid out.
Now for the rest of my recovery period- I forget where I first heard this rule, but I always try to follow the “1 mile = 1 day” rule of recovery. This means that you should spend 26(.2) days recovering after a marathon, or one day for each mile that you ran. I didn’t do this last time because I didn’t have much time between the Country Music Marathon and the beginning of my training for this past marathon (less than a month), and I wanted to keep my mileage base on the higher end. This ended up being really hard on my body and I think I hit the burn-out point during Air Force Marathon training earlier than usual, because I never really gave my body a chance to recover. I am taking a much longer break from training this time around, so I won’t let that happen again!
Here’s what I’ve been doing to recover over the past week or so:
Lots of water. Do I need to explain this one?
Delicious, nutritious, homemade food. After eating out too much last week we’ve been craving healthy food, plus it’s good for recovering bodies! Example: Three Bean Chili made in the slow cooker with cornbread. All vegan, homemade, and delicious!
Easy, short runs. 2-3 miles at a very easy pace, every other day or so.
Blister care. I’ve been nursing my horrible blister and it’s healing well. I didn’t run at all until Wednesday after the race because it was too painful and it would have affected my gait. It’s fine now (however it has turned from pink to black) and I can’t feel it anymore!
Wine. I really needed this after a stressful week! Wine is part of any good recovery plan!
Sleep. Still not enough though!
Music. Music is good for healing, right? Kevin and I attended the WMZQ Fall Fest on Saturday night and saw Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley. Beer is also good for recovery! 🙂
Walking. It feels really good on my legs! On Sunday my friend and I walked many, many miles around D.C. and enjoyed the sights.
Stretching (kind of). Guys, I am the world’s worst stretcher. I KNOW it’s so good for me but I just don’t like to do it! I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m really inflexible, but that’s probably because I don’t stretch. Haha! It’s a vicious cycle. But I AM trying 🙂 I need to break out the foam roller as well!
Recovery is going really well so far. I had the typical amount of soreness and took a couple Advil on Monday before school to lessen it a bit. It all went away within two days, which is great! Since the Wednesday after the race I’ve been doing little 2 or 3 milers at a very easy pace, and they have been SO enjoyable. I don’t know if it’s because there’s no pressure of following a ‘training plan’ or if it’s because I’m choosing to run instead of feeling like I have to, but I have been LOVING it. I smile the whole time and just generally enjoy it so much! Don’t get me wrong- I always love running- but there’s just something special about running for the fun of it rather than for training. It’s just different. Don’t you agree?
One strange thing that happened for the first time after the marathon was an insane amount of swelling and water retention. For a few days I looked really puffy in my face, legs, and feet. When I got back to Virginia I weighed myself and I was 6 pounds heavier than when I left! I don’t ever fluctuate that much so I knew it must have been water weight. After doing some research I found out that after something intense like a marathon, your muscles hold onto a lot of water to help them recover. It could also be from getting dehydrated during the race. It went away completely after about 2 days and I was back to my normal weight. The same exact thing happened to Kevin. WEIRD!
I plan to continue the easy running for at least 26 days then slowly get back to running a longer run on the weekends (6-8 miles). I want to get back into strength training, and I went to Body Pump for the first time in two weeks last Saturday. It was tough and left me very sore in my upper body (I skipped the squats and lunges to let my legs rest). I’m anxious to get back to that regularly and also other classes like spinning.
I will be posting again tomorrow with an exciting announcement!