Congratulations, you did it! You completed this year’s marathon. The hard part is over, you maybe can almost walk again, so what next? The temptation is to fall to one of two extremes, either give up on training all together or jump straight back in. If you’re finding yourself in the former camp, stop. Give yourself a minute and think about all the hard work and training you put in to be able to complete it in the first place. Is it worth throwing that effort way? We don’t think so. Here’s a guide to help you with ongoing training and recovery in the four weeks following your marathon.
This week is the recovery week! It’s advised to avoid running for the first few days after your marathon, just focus on rest and recuperation. Be sure to get enough sleep as this is key for recovery. Continue to eat healthy, but don’t start a new diet or calorie cutting! Your body needs this time to refuel.
Eating lots of protein can help to repair muscle damage and restore muscle glycogen. Alongside meat, egg whites are a great source of protein. We recommend Eazy Egg for a hassle and mess free way to do that. If you fancy a treat, then go for it, you’ve earned it after all, but don’t go overboard as this will affect your body’s blood sugar levels, mood, and sleep.
As the week progresses you can incorporate active recovery, walking, swimming, or cycling are great low impact forms of exercise. Keep your sessions light and consistent. Most importantly, don’t forget to stretch! Your muscles are going to need it.
It’s time to return to running but keep it light. It’s advised to complete two to three easy runs during this week, ideally 30 to 45 minutes in length but up to 60 minutes maximum. Aim for up to two minutes a mile slower than your marathon pace.
If you don’t feel like retuning to running just yet, then don’t force yourself! You know your body best.
Towards the end of the second week, you might want to incorporate some faster runs. You could try a thirty minute tempo run, which would involve a five minute warm up of light running, twenty minutes at a faster pace with controlled discomfort, easing back down to your lighter pace for the last five minutes.
By week three you’ll be getting back into the swing of things which is when you can add structure to your training. This can include longer runs and interval training, though it’s advised to only run up to sixty percent of your maximum marathon mileage.
So, you’re back to training and now it’s time to up the intensity. Try a couple of sessions at a ‘comfortably hard’ pace, but otherwise keep it easy. You can start to increase the distance too, up to eighty percent of your maximum marathon mileage.
However you do it, the main thing is don’t give up!