Recovery Mode

If you have ever had a big event, you know how it feels when it's over. You feel a little lost, a tad adrift, a bit confused. You don't know what to do with yourself. Due to the weeks I spent training for the marathon, this is kind of where I am right now. Couple that with the events that happened in Boston after the marathon and it is definitely a strange mental state overall.

I read in Runners World, and I mentioned it after my first marathon, that you are supposed to "rest" for the same amount of days as miles that you ran for your race. For me, this would be 26 days, or approximately one month. They say that for the first couple weeks of your break, drop mileage to zero and do light cross training instead. For the next three to six weeks, add running back in slowly: For two weeks, run 25% of pre-break mileage; for two weeks run 50%; the last two weeks, run 75%.


This really is counterproductive to having a positive mental state. Most people who are runners RUN when they are feeling sad/angry/tired/scared/stressed. I am no different. My daily run makes me feel strong, makes me feel happier, and takes away the cares of the day.

So I did not take the advice of the good people of RW. I would have gone crazy. I already tapered, which was horrible, but they can't take away my after marathon run therapy! 

First of all, I had already signed up for the Ohlone 50k, which is May 19th. There are roughly 5 weeks (4 weekends) between the two races. I guess I was feeling kind of post race blues before the marathon even happened, because I also signed up for the Squamish 50k and the Marine Corp Marathon. It's like retail therapy, but better!

So, what's the recovery plan? Well, it's hard to figure out how to work it when I have a 50k in three weeks. So I decided to do a four weekend training plan, consisting of one easy weekend, one little bit harder weekend, one high mileage weekend and one easy weekend, and then race weekend.

Week 1: April 15 - April 21: Boston Marathon / weekend trail runs (easy)
Week 2: April 22 - April 28: easy week / weekend trail runs (med)
Week 3: April 29 - May 05: med week / weekend trail runs (long)
Week 4: May 06 - May 12: easy week / weekend trail runs (easy)
Week 5: May 13 - May 19: easy week / Race weekend

After weekend one, I was pretty tired. My legs were pretty sore, plus I followed short Saturday and Sunday runs with a two hour hike up a steep hill and the Monday BostonStrongSF run, so I took Tuesday and Wednesday of the next week completely off. (TOTAL = 41 miles (including the marathon) / 5 hours, 53 mins)

After weekend two, I feel good. My legs are definitely not back to normal, but I did do one shorter test run where I was able to keep the pace under an 8 minute mile, so they are not totally dead. (TOTAL = 45 miles / 7 hours, 40 mins)

Next weekend is the big mileage weekend. I hope my legs are up for the challenge. I know my mind is.

finish line quote

How do you deal with the comedown from a big event?  Do you have a long recovery time after a big race? What is the closest time period you have had two big races together?

Want more? 
**Check out Laura's take on the Post Race Blues.
**Head over to Fitness Friday at Jill's for some more fitness advice and info!


  1. I do not spend that much time on recovery. I think it is better to come back with easy mile the first week and see how I feel after that. I can't stand to take that much time off running either!

  2. That's got to be tough: marathon followed by 50k! But at least the marathon counts as a long run for 50k training, right?

  3. Yes, I always struggle after a big event like a marathon. There is such a build up and then it's over so fast (well relatively fast if you consider 4'ish hours fast). I did take recovery time after my marathon but resumed running after a week off I think. But I kept my mileage super low as I didn't have another race coming up anytime soon as it had turned cold/snowy in MN so that made running less appealing.

    That is exciting that you are doing MCM!! Depending on what is happening in my life at that point and what my budget is looking like, maybe I will come spectate!

  4. I really don't take too much time to recover after a race but then again I'm not doing marathons either. I've said it before but after Boston I think I took about a year off of running (totally different runner then and some other factors like being pregnant!) I could never do that again!!

  5. I promise I read all about the mental/physical side to recovery while also gearing up for your next race, but ... MARINE CORPS MARATHON??? I hope you'll love it. It's a busy race and urban in nature, but I absolutely loved running it! One of my favorite moments was at the finish line when some young marine was taking off the timing chip from my shoe. I giggled and said, "I bet you never imagined in a million years when you joined the marines that you'd be doing this as part of your service." He laughed, which helped make my day!

  6. I think 3 weeks is the closest I have had 2 half marathons, but nothing longer than that. I hope you feel better. No way runners can go that long without running, are they crazy?!

  7. Give ironman a try. when you can't even stand up for the next week without serious issues, it's tough to focus on something else. But at the same time, 20 hours a week for the last 9 months was devoted to training and suddenly there is a tremendous void in your lifestyle. You pick the next big race and sign up for it. or pick another goal. but just sitting there like you have to do after an ironman will drive you up the wall. tread lightly.

  8. You're so right- the recovery time is SO hard for runners. Your plan looks good.. that 50k is right around the corner, wow! And thanks for sharing my post!

  9. Recovery is tough but necessary sometimes. The biggest I've ever gone is 6 days between a full and half marathon. Although I meant to run the half easy, it was a sweet PR. :)

  10. I once did 2 marathons 4 weeks apart followed by a 50k 3 weeks later. I wasn't running all out though and that makes a big difference. You are going to rock Ohlone! :-)

  11. I have a hard time with that much rest too after a marathon. I tend to take it easy on runs but still run what feels good.

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  13. I foolishly did a half six days before a full marathon a couple of years ago. It was worth it, though, to run that half with one of my best friends (it was her first). I took a zero week after my second full and then reversed my taper. I usually don't take a zero week after a half, but I'm going to this time since my IT band was bothering me during the last couple of miles of Vancouver and because I am just wiped out.

  14. I think the best thing for you is listening to your body - and your mind. You know what you can do and what you need to do to stay sane. So, you're doing the right thing.

  15. Good luck with your 50K this weekend!


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!