Marathon recovery easy so far...

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30/10/2009 at 15:09
I would really appreciate some advice from the marathon runners out there.

I have 4-5 years of regular running under my belt and have run several races in that time, including a half marathon.

On Sunday i ran my first ever marathon (yay!). I committed to a 14 week intermediate training plan and barely missed a single training run! As it was, i went out too fast on the day, hit the wall at about the 15 mile mark and struggled the rest of the way around. Still, i finished and that's all i really wanted to do

I am now following Hal Higdon's post-marathon training guide. I have done no running since Sunday and no longer have any soreness in my legs. Today, i went for my first run since the marathon - a 2-3 miler. Now, i have read all sorts of horror stories from other runners about how difficult their post marathon runs are, but i just had quite a different experience - i was so excited to be out running again, i felt light on my feet, very fit, and barely a niggle. Granted my legs did feel a little tired, but i definitely could have run longer.

My concern is that my marathon recovery (so far!) has been relatively easy. I know it's different for everyone, but given that i'm new to marathon running, i expected to struggle more.

Am i in for a nasty shock? Your input and advice would be greatly welcome.

Thanking you in advance


30/10/2009 at 22:54

Hi Kimba - you sound just like me.  I too did a marathon on Sunday and trained following Hal Higdon's Intermediate plan. The marathon was very hilly but I finished in my target time of 4.30. My quads were killing me Mon, Tues and Weds but by Thurs they had eased off and I did some cross training at gym. I looked at Hal's recovery programme and did a 3 mile easy run this morning and like you, felt fine!  And was surprised at how well I felt.  I have eaten well since Sunday and now feel quite rested.  I guess Cakes right by saying we must have trained properly.

I'm going to follow Hal's 4 week recovery programme and then start preparing for the VLM.

meface    pirate
30/10/2009 at 23:49

I finished a hilly 30 mile in 6:15 during the summer, and followed the dad's recovery plan which involved going to a BBQ at a friends and playing with three year olds as I'd been out all day so it was my turn to entertain the kids.

I was back out by the Wednesday. Now admittedly 6:15 isn't startling fast but it is off-road and hilly (North Downs) so it does make the legs ache. As Cake says some people do them every weekend.

Go with how you feel. Don't try to bust any records too soon, enjoy running for a while......then enter another.

31/10/2009 at 06:42
Cake, thanks so much for the reassurance. Marathons every weekend? Now there's an idea!

Ladyfe, Well done on your marathon! I am also going to follow Hal's 4 week plan. Problem is, while i feel so good, it's going to be difficult to hold back! Good luck training for the VLM. Is a 4 week recovery usually sufficient, particularly for us not-so-crazy kids who don't run marathons every weekend? I ask as i am itching to get back into training myself.

Dave, Congratulations on your marathon too (Beachy Head by any chance?)! I love the concept of a Dad's recovery plan And thanks for advice.

I guess as Cake says, i did the training properly and it's paying off. Also, i have been really annoyed at myself for going out so quickly and hitting the wall early on (i promised myself i wouldn't do that!), so now i feel as though i've got some demons to bury and it's really motivating me to get out there and start training again asap.

I have even been looking into doing a more 'hardcore' marathon, such as the Jungfrau Marathon in climbs 1600 metres over the 26.2 mile distance!

Does this mean i may have caught the marathon bug?
31/10/2009 at 10:14

Kimba - yep - you have been well and truly bitten by the bug!

My training for the VLM will of course be a gradual build up again to the long runs so provided I don't rush into heavy mileage weeks immediately and intensive speedwork intervals I guess I should be fine. Hal Higdon's schedules are for 18 weeks but I'll allow 20 weeks in case of snow, flu etc. ( Not that I actually do many 'intensive speedwork intervals... )

Re you hitting the wall.  We live and learn.!  I did FLM in 2006 and made a real hash of it because my training was inadequate and I stupidly thought it would be ok on the day...but of course you can't treat the marathon distance with disrespect like that.  I suffered badly from mile 16 onwards and although felt really proud to have finished it I felt that to suffer that much wasn't right.  So this 2nd attempt at a marathon last Sunday was a completely different experience for me because my training, nutrition and hydration were so much better. Yes it still hurt as marathons always hurt. But it didn't shatter me like my first one. In fact, sitting here I can hardly believe that I ran a marathon just under a week ago!

Re running marathons every week or fortnight:  Indeed these people do exist . And I chatted to some of them in last sunday's marathon - quite a few were 100 marathon clubbers. 2 people said they don't actually 'train' anymore - they just run marathons on the weekend!

meface    pirate
31/10/2009 at 16:13

Beachy Head - no chance - too mean.

 I grew up on a diet of LDWA events and these guys don't do tee-shirts, medals, energy bars or aything really. However as a member I get £2 off events which makes the 30-mile winter tanners event from Leatherhead at £2 entry fee (£4 non-members) a real bargin compared to £4,000,000,000 to run 16-miles round Kingston, twice.

They do hills, directions, and water. Cheap - oh yes. Deluxe nah. Hard - yes if you run

31/10/2009 at 20:02
Dave Goodfellow wrote (see)

Beachy Head - no chance - too mean.

 I grew up on a diet of LDWA events and these guys don't do tee-shirts, medals, energy bars or aything really. However as a member I get £2 off events which makes the 30-mile winter tanners event from Leatherhead at £2 entry fee (£4 non-members) a real bargin compared to £4,000,000,000 to run 16-miles round Kingston, twice.

They do hills, directions, and water. Cheap - oh yes. Deluxe nah. Hard - yes if you run

Wow was it only that much to run 2 laps of Kingston. I thought that they'd asked for some ridiculous amount. How wrong can you be eh?

After my first marathon I was really stiff and sore for a few days, never got to run as I was knocked off pushy. ouch big time. My second marathon - Eden on 11/10/09 I didn't even know I'd run the next day. Only thing I can say is that I found the gym; cycling; and swimming much harder and have been very hungry. Have taken the running easy, clocked 30 miles this week with no speed work and only 1 easy hill session.

It maddens me that their are folk out there that can do ironmen and ultras and marathons in their sleep.  ! My knees would never let me do that I don't think.

There are at least 3 marathons that I want to run (next year)? I don't know if this is wise or not, esp as they are quite hilly routes. I think I could do it if I took them gently, but that doesn't sound like me. I go out all guns blazing.

Had to google LDWA - never heard of them, but great, my partner wants to get fit and the only exercise he enjoys is walking, I'll send him a link. The only other thing I want to do is find an event where I can run and he can cycle, then we can go together.

31/10/2009 at 21:53

Cake - were you the kid in that add - you know

"choc ice and chips... don't tell your mother!"?

01/11/2009 at 13:05
Ladyfe, it sounds as though we had very similar experiences for our first marathons. I am still not exactly sure where i went wrong, but i know that going out quickly was a big factor. I also think that my pre-race nutrition could have been a little better. But this is why i am looking to do another one asap, to correct my mistakes!

Good luck for your recovery and training for the VLM. 20 weeks sounds like a very sensible time frame to train again, particularly with winter approaching.

Oooh and Dave, i think you're onto a winner there with your races. £2 entry fee? Wooohoooo!

Bikermouse, what are the 3 marathons you have in mind for next year? Surely with sensible training, you should be fine, yes???

Cake, i love your suggestion of meat, jacket pot, cake and ice-cream for recovery In fact, i know i drove my friends and family crazy while i was training (and in the first few days of my recovery) as i was constantly eating while they were pushing their salad leaves around the plate!

Just back from my 'LSR' of 7 miles. Felt really good again and loved every minute of it, which i actually find a little disturbing. I am still waiting to be hit with a massive dose of post-marathon blues or fatigue.....
Edited: 01/11/2009 at 13:05
01/11/2009 at 13:35

Kimba -  its your training that will have prepared your body - not the actual marathon so regardless of what happened on the day you are probably in pretty good shape and hence recovery won't be too bad!  You say you went out too fast on the day  - well thats a tactical mistake not a fitness issue. Even elite athletes can make that mistake and suffer!  Looking back to my first marathon - my major mistake was not to train consistently and to believe that I could get away with it on the day. No - it doesn't work!

I've also just been out for my longish slow run. Did just over 8 miles ( I hr 27 so slightly longer than Hal Higdon recommends so slapped wrists ). The reason being I took a diversion to local country park as I wanted to get off road for a while - so this extended my planned route a little. It was raining but lovely temp to run in - not cold...just refreshing!  I've also been doing some gentle cross training at the gym - rowing, elliptical trainer and bike

Incidentally - have you any more events p.lanned for the near future?  Shorter or long?

01/11/2009 at 14:03
Ladyfe, thanks for your comments. Yes, i am starting to understand from the comments here that by training well, i have helped to improve my recovery. It sounds so obvious, but i guess i have heard from so many people how much they suffered post marathon, so i guess i expected that this would happen no matter what i did! Good to know that's not necessarily the case.

Well done on your 8 miles! How did you feel? Any niggles or tiredness? Or fresh as a daisy?? Oh, and i won't tell Hal that you ran slightly longer than he recommends

As for future events? Well, i'm actually looking around now for something, but haven't decided as yet. I currently live in Switzerland of all places, so i am looking at races around this area. I am very tempted by the Rotterdam marathon in April - i prefer smaller races and this has *only* 8000 participants. I would love to do a half marathon before then, but again, just a matter of deciding which one!

I am getting very itchy feet to try one of the trail marathons that take place in the Swiss Alps, but i'm scared of biting off more than i can chew at the moment. I would eventually like to progress to ultra marathons one day, but one thing at a time methinks.

What about you? VLM in April, but anything before? Any other events planned for 2010?
01/11/2009 at 15:25

Kimba - I feel fine after my 8 miles . I did feel that I could have run further but I'm scared of Hal! ( and yes...please don't tell him I ran further than I  should have ). No niggles - lower legs slightly stiff but not hurting.  I will stick to the plan religiously next week .  I refuelled with my homemade shake of milk, drinking choc, banana and peanut butter then made some butternut squash soup which I've downed with a cheese sarnie. Yum!  Now I'm watching Paula RAdcliffe in NY Marathon.

Why don't you sign up for a trail marathon? When do they take place?  You've got a good level of fitness so this is something new you could aim for!  I guess your training would involve more hill training but I'm sure you could fit that in somehow?

I did relatively few races this year so have decided to try out a few shorter distance races in the build up to VLM. These are a 10K on Nov 15th Wimbledon Common)  15K on Dec 6th ( Richmond Park)  Half Marathon in Feb 28th ( local to me in Essex).  But, and this is the big but.....I have signed up for my very first Ultra in June......its the Shires and Spires in Northamptonshire - 35 miles - includes some navigation with compass and map!!  It is organised by Go Beyond - the organisation behind the off road marathon I did last Sunday.   I decided that as I didn't feel absolutely whacked at the end of the marathon I maybe do have the potential to run a bit further......well we shall see!!

01/11/2009 at 18:03
Cake, that's reassuring to know that Rotterdam is highly rated! Hmmmm, i just might add that to my list then

Ladyfe, luuurve the sound of your post run drinkie. Yum! Might have to give that a try. I am also so envious of all the races you have signed up for. Very well done! The ultra marathon in June sounds absolutely awesome. Do you have orientation experience? Any ideas on what kind of training schedule you are going to follow for it?

Ooooh, i feel even more motivated now to book some races!! I just might look at the trail marathon again.....and....and....some other races before then too!

Edited: 01/11/2009 at 18:03
01/11/2009 at 22:43

Kimba - the short answer is - no...I don't have ANY orientation experience!  I love to live a bit dangerously.  Re a training schedule, I'm not sure yet. Our friend Hal has a schedule for Ultra marathons that I could perhaps tweak. Its for 6 months and thus VLM falls within the 4th month.  His schedule is for Comrades ( 54 miles) so I could play around with it and reduce the mileage a bit.  I think it will be do-able provided I don't get injured! 

Do sign up for some events!  It keeps you motivated. What sort of events are there in Switzerland ( apart from scaling the Alps!) ?

02/11/2009 at 13:11
Firstly, can anyone tell me how on earth i do the quotey thing? It's driving me nuts!

Ahh Cake, ideas are what i like. I could indeed do both. Rotterdam is in April and i see that Amsterdam is later in the year, so definitely do-able Incidentally, have you got any maras planned???

Ladyfe, i like your attitude to living dangerously! I have heard of Hal's Ultra schedule. With the VLM falling in the 4th month, this should work perfectly, yes?

And yes, you have spurred me on to sign up to some more events, sooner than later. The problem here though is that with Winter approaching, there are less running events around as people head to the slopes to ski. If i were still in the UK i would have plenty more running options available. I may just have to hold out until the new year now.

As for races in Switzerland? Well, there are some crazy events here that i would actually love to try. There is one called the Inferno Half Marathon. Here is a description of the route...

"Lauterbrunnen (795m a.s.l.) - Mürren (1640) - Schilthorn (2970).
Distance 21.097 km, slope 2175 m).

The start is at Camping Jungfrau, directly below the Staubbach Falls, the landmark of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The first 11 kilometres appear fairly “harmless”, with a climb of around 800 metres, merely a warm-up. After the Sports Centre, it’s straight down to business. The Höhenlücke is the first wall to stand in the way of the “mountain goats”. After the Kanonenrohr (Cannon Barrel), which is two grades steeper, a 2km level stretch of scree awaits athletes before they tackle the steep 1.5km final climb of 400 metres to the Schilthorn summit".

Another one is the Jungfrau marathon. See link....

And my fantasy event is the Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc! Here is a little blurb...

"Approximately 166 km and 9 400 m of + altitude change- 46 h max"

Seriously cool, but seriously crackers!!!

(Sorry, i can't seem to do linky things!)
Edited: 02/11/2009 at 13:13
02/11/2009 at 13:35
Oooh you mean the Lausanne triathlon, Cake? I live in Lausanne so this is one of my local races. When i first moved here earlier this year i actually met up with Swiss Iron Bobby (know of him?) for a run. Really nice guy.

The marathon i just did was the Lausanne marathon
02/11/2009 at 22:38

Tee - hee!  Cake is about the Ironman that is just on your doorstep!

Seriously - those events you have described sound so so cool. So get on and sign up! The half marathon is waiting.....

04/11/2009 at 07:55
An Ironman? *sigh* Well! I would love to do one, but, erm, well....

....those pirates are another breed altogether!

I might try a few more marathons, even an ultra like you Ladyfe, and maybe then we'll see.

Oh, and get this for marathon recovery. I spoke to my friend the other day who ran her first marathon on the same day that i did.....5 days later she went for a 4 HOUR TRAIL RUN!

Edited: 04/11/2009 at 07:56
04/11/2009 at 22:35

Oh I know there are loads of amazing people who do back to back marathons and marathons every week etc !  I'm sure if you get the training right over a period of time you can get your body used to this. and recovery time lessens. But at the moment I'd rather err on the side of  caution and recover properly by following (ish) the recovery schedule before starting training heavily again ( says me who once again added on a couple of extra miles to Hals scheduled 4 mile run this morning ). Well it was only 2 miles extra - not 3 HOURS extra like your friend!)

06/11/2009 at 14:40
Ladyfe, i have been bad too by adding a few sneaky miles onto my runs. I don't suppose it will hurt while we feel ok. As it is though, i was quite tired when i woke up this morning, so was grateful that Hal said i could have a rest day today What about you?

Oooh and another thing. I have been looking at this ultramarathon that you mentioned up in Northants in June 2010. I am seriously considering trying this for myself as my first ultra. The reason being that i am simply terrified of the local mountain ultras here. I have looked and looked and can't find an ultramarathon in Switzerland that doesn't involve insane altitude.

The UK however, seems to have plenty of slightly more sensible ultramarathon events, particularly for the first timer. The June date of this ultra, the fact that it takes place close to where my friend lives (i could pay her a wee visit at the same time), and isn't an ultra ULTRA distance (i.e 50 miles or more) means that it could be a real contender for me!

I have mentioned to Mr K the possibility that i might enter this and while he says he admires me, he thinks i'm officially cream crackered!

Why is it that i love the fact that people think i'm crazy to want to run an ultramarathon!
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