Not So Fabulous

So the marathon is over. Now what? My mom recently asked me what I would be doing after I finished training for the race. I honestly did not know. Should I take a break for a while, now that I don’t have a race immediately scheduled? Should I keep running to keep up my stamina so when I do schedule a race, I will not have to re-train entirely? I don’t want to lose what I have worked so hard for, but at the same time, it would be nice to NOT have to spend all my time thinking about when I will get a run in and where I will run and how I will get to where I am running. It would be nice to plan some outings with friends without having to think about the fact that it will be dark when I get back so I may not get a run in (so maybe I should not go). I have been thinking exclusively about running for a while. Am I ready for a break?

A recentarticle in Runner’s World said that you should take as many days off of running as the number of miles in your last race. For example, if you just ran a half marathon, you should take 13 days off from running. RW suggests that the holidays are an ideal time to do this, since most people are busy and have so many other things to do. 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%.

Last week I ran 18 miles. This is roughly 41% of my pre-race mileage. I feel great. I “only” ran 3 days last week and my runs were 4, 6 and 8 miles, which seemed like nothing really. I feel like any less would be a cop out, but only because it is less that the number of miles I am used to. Without a weekend long run of 13, 15, 20 miles, it feels strange. But maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe I should tune it down a little for the next couple of weeks?

Don’t get me wrong; I am not done running by a long shot. Next year I have a few things planned. There is the 12 in 2012, where I will run 12 half marathons in 2012. There is The Relay, which is a 199 mile, 12 person relay race from Calistoga, CA to Santa Cruz, CA; it even goes over the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight! I will talk more about both of these as the plans come together. There is also the possibility of another marathon. NYC perhaps (if I can get in)? There are things happening. But they are not this week or next week. They are at least a month and probably more from now.

So I am trying to break the mental feeling that I HAVE TO run and that if I don’t run a certain number of miles that I am doing something wrong or that I am not achieving my goal. I am trying not to log miles just to get my numbers up. But it is strange to not have a goal and to increase that goal each week. I am a goal oriented person.

So my goal is: To run because it’s fun, to run to keep myself feeling healthy (and so I can eat more cookies) and to run when I can, as much as I can, but to not worry if I can’t. Also I will try to do one day of cross training per week (which will probably be hiking).

Think I can do it?

Don't forget to go and link up with Jill if you have a Fitness related post! 

How do you handle the days and weeks after a big race? What is your recovery strategy? Do you feel weird if you don’t log a certain amount of miles?


  1. There is always that feeling of "now what" after a big race. I try to give my body that time to not be in training even though mentally I am not comfortable with it! 2012 sounds like an exciting year for you! We should meet up at a race on this coast!

  2. Yea the post-race emotions are everywhere. I've got it bad. I did not expect to actually miss ironman training, but now I have no idea what to do with my weekends. Only working out once a day feels so strange, like I've abandoned something. it's weird. But I'm not going to rest for 140 days.

    I did a half marathon every month challenge last year, but did not know there was an organized 12 in 12 thing for it. that's pretty neat. My fastest was actually December's half in 1:37:54 and the slowest was in August at 2:13

  3. After my last marathon I followed a Hal Higdon recovery plan. Basically, it had me do a 0 week for the week following the marathon, and then a reverse taper. It was what I needed because I find that my body is really worn down after running a marathon and I don't have an 8 miler in my legs or lungs in the week or so after a marathon. Everyone is different, though. I do think it's good to take a bit of a break though so that you don't get burnt out.

  4. I remember feeling really antsy after my marathon and the temptation was there to sign up for another one RIGHT AWAY but I'm really glad I took 2011 off from marathoning and focused on other race goals. I'm ready to tackle my marathon training that starts Jan 3 with gusto now!

    I also did not know about your 12 in 2012 marathon challenge. That is awesome and very ambitious! I'm excited to follow along!

  5. i read that too-but have not run much recently.I think I will try and do Janathan-where you run or exercise every day in jan and blog about it.look it up.I tried Juneathon-think I got to the 20th...

  6. That is a perfect time to cross train, I do the sports I don't have time to do while in the middle of training!

  7. I took a full week off after my marathons and then just sort of kept a 'maintenace mileage' level going. I couldn't keep running high mileage weeks or I would burn out. I like 15-20 miles during maintenance phase (like now), and then I start increasing as i prepare for race season (so like in April I start to try to increase my mileage).

    I really want to do NYC! I hope we get in!!

  8. I think taking a bit of a break and doing some cross training is a good idea. When you get back to training again you will feel refreshed and less likely to suffer any burnout.

  9. I tend to just listen to my body and see how I feel when determining how long I rest for. I didn't know you were on the 12 in 2012 team! Me too!

  10. I call it the post race blues! I "suffered" from it big time after Chicago. I feel lost and disjointed so I finally decided I have to have a plan. Mileage written down in my calendar. Not only a plan but a goal too. Not necessarily a goal as big as another marathon but a goal of some sort. Is is strange that I find that so comforting?

    After a race I listen to my body. If I need a day or 2 off I cross train or even do nothing and by then I'm usually ready to run again. Maybe shorter distances or few runs in a week.

    Can't wait for 12 in 2012!

  11. I'm finding a bit of joy again in running by just keeping up my mileage and ditching the pace goals. I feel like I'm keeping a good base, but I'm enjoying it all so much more. I only took about a week off after my last half and I'm feeling great and totally itching to run more. Loving it. Good luck!

  12. I never really thought much about what happens after the marathon is over. Probably because the most I've ever done is 3 miles. So far.


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