marathon recovery

17 messages
23/05/2009 at 12:31

Hi all,

I did my first marathon a month ago (FLM!) i've been trying to get back into running but i've lost the springs in my legs!

i dunno if its motivation, tiredness or what but i had hoped i'd be back to running races soon

i'm just knackered within a few miles - is this normal and what can i do to get back into my training?

Thank you


23/05/2009 at 14:32

Nats - no expert me, but guess it's probably a combination of both.  Recovery can take a while, so it may be that you're not yet fully recovered. 

Hopefully those with more experience than me will give you some answers/suggestions, but I'd say, take it easy for a bit, maybe swop some running for x-training of some kind or change your training schedule quite radically, so it's not "same old, same old". 

23/05/2009 at 16:21

It can be normal for some people.  It depends on how big a step up running a marathon was from your previous running experiences.

I've heard it said that it can take 26 days, i.e. 1 day per mile, to recover fully from a marathon.

I would take a bit longer off and maybe do some other form of exercise for a couple of weeks. By then you should hopefully have your motivation and your energy levels back.

Have you got any other goals in mind?  I find that I need goals to stay motivated.  Maybe a local 10k or something else short like that in July?

23/05/2009 at 17:13

I think I will try to listen to my body and take it a bit easier...
time to get the bike out or go for a swim!

I have a half marathon in a couple of weeks (beginning of July) - I booked it thinking I needed a goal after London.... and secretly hoping I could get a pb as its such a lovely distance in comparison to the marathon!

The marathon was quite a big step for me, and due to a bit of injury in my training for it I hadnt done as many long runs as I had planned, that said the marathon went well...

I really guess I need to get myself in a good space mentally - cos at the moment its just frustrating...

thank you


23/05/2009 at 17:31
If you do some cross training then you will keep your fitness level up and you may be OK for the half marathon.  Personnally I would have said that you were aiming too high too soon after a marathon, but what do I know?  London was my first one too so I am hardly an expert.
23/05/2009 at 17:36

Ive had exactley the same issue with recovery after London my 1st marathon ,i tok a week off straight after but i dont think it was enough as i was lethargic for ages !

Its only after a run today that im feeling my legs coming back to me!!

23/05/2009 at 18:08
I guess you followed a structured training programme for FLM; did you also follow a proper recovery programme?
23/05/2009 at 22:47
Hi Nats I am also recovering from London  and have found that my base fitness is not what it should be.I had 2 weeks of complete rest and I then started running again but slowly.I am now in the process of building up my fitness again by doing 3-4 runs per week at an easy pace and I find that I am enjoying my running again
24/05/2009 at 11:16

London was a week later than the marathon I did, so I'm one week ahead of you guys- this time (my third) has been the best in terms of recovery, but even then, I have been strugling to do better then run about 8k at tempo pace, 3 times per week. However, had a sudden breakthrough this week- PB at 10k race on thursday night, then managed to push yesterdays LSR back up to 16km- but VERY slow- I think it just takes time, but once you'r e recovered, you'll find a lot of the fitness is still there, and you can be doing well at shorter races with very little extra training!

24/05/2009 at 22:20

I'm finding my post-FLM easy pace is significantly slower than my pre-FLM easy pace was.

 Coach Nick's post marathon programme was cross training only for 2 weeks, then reverse the taper, so no big miles or fast stuff till June.  Admittedly I've pushed it ahead a week and done 13m today, and am starting the threshold stuff again next week, but it made sense to me.  last year I pushed back into it too fast and found my recovery took forever.  In fact, by the time I was recovered I'd lost the impotence to run anyway and it took me ages to get going again

25/05/2009 at 11:34
I have found the same Wotsit my easy pace is at least 1min/mile slower now.I am  surprised that I have lost so much fitness and so I am going to stay with easy paced runs until I return to my pre-FLM fitness.My only reservation is that it may take too long.
26/05/2009 at 10:19

Same thing happened to me. even shorter distances had my heart rate way up and effort seemed huge compared with what I had found easy peasy pre marthon. after 2 weeks of easy running ( about a month post marathon) I started really pushing as hard as I could a couple of times a week and that seemed to reset the button. I am fine again now. Although the overall speed is still lower. I think once you are back to managing with no extra sleeping time  and not feeding like a starving teenager and the legs are ok ,. a good hard session  really seems to help. make sure the legs are ready for it though.

I had grandiose notions of running a marathon or two this year but have been shocked and horrified at how long it has taken me to getting back into it. Will allow far longer in future. Anything shorter will be a bonus then.

16/07/2009 at 16:51

Such a relief to find this thread.  I too ran FLM 09 as my first marathon.  Went back cross training after a week but started feeling way below par - very fuzzy and tired all the time, had "the shakes" and was occasionally light headed.  Managed a 13 miler at end of May but it felt like 20.  My below-par feeling worsened as did dizzyness, shakes and palpitations - went to the docs and was diagnosed with labyrinthitis.  I did nothing all June and just ventured back out this month as doc thought it might help.

What a shock!  I ran a trail loop near home, it's 4.5 miles, i.e. nothing.  I ended up doing 9 minute miles and had to stop after 3 as my legs were just killing me - like mile 20 of the marathon, and my heart rate was ludicrously high.  Just bizarre.  I've been out seven times now and it is only just getting better, but not much.  I am astonished at how quickly my fitness just evaporated - I was hoping for some half and 10k PBs but no way!  During March I ran a 10k training run under 44 minutes (just).  I tried last week and it took 55 and I was dead!   Heart rate is coming into line but my legs are still so weak.  I once took a year off running and it wasn't this bad when I came back.


16/07/2009 at 23:43
I think people forget it is blinking hard to run a marathon and it can take a lot out of you - it does get better and after your first one recovery time becomes even quicker, but really what's the rush?
17/07/2009 at 19:38

I am so glad I have seen this. I was even contemplating going to the doctors I am soooo tired. I thought that I would be ticking off my PB's but I have found it really difficult. I am going to do a half marathon in October, hopefully I will be back to my fitness level by then.

I guess I just will keep eating sensibly and sleeping when I need to!


18/07/2009 at 17:37

I too have been shocked at how much a marathon takes out of you.  I did Edinburgh at the end of May and I am still struggling to get going again 7 weeks later.  I thought my legs would ache for a while and running would be tough for a couple of weeks, but nothing like I have been experiencing. 

I have been exhausted all the time, picked up viruses, even ended up at the docs because I kept getting funny heart flutters.

I am convinced that I have had these problems because I had only been running seriously for about 18 months and not done the base mileage over several months that I think I needed.  I have a good for age place for London next year and am going to start building up my mileage well before training proper starts in January.  I think that if I do 13, 14, 15 on a regular basis rather than the 8-13 I was doing before training for Ed I think that might sort me.  Is that the right thing to do?  Or am I going to feel like total rubbish for 2 months come April?!

19/07/2009 at 16:02

I have built up my running distance very slowly over 4 years before I did my first marathon (FLM).  I think that is the reason that I was able to run the whole way, and keep a constant speed too.  Afterwards I didn't feel the need for a break, and continued to run 2 or 3 times a week, but took the mileage right down to only about 2-3 miles.

I'm now able to run about 7 miles comfortably, but the thing is, I no longer want to.  I have other goals to work towards but my motivation has gone and I'm not enjoying it like I used to.  I'm assuming that this is my body trying to tell me that I'm not ready yet, and instead I am getting out on the bike more.

So Dippycat, I think that maybe your inexperience of running might be causing some of your problems.  For me, having a solid running base to work from meant that I actually found my first marathon easier than my first half marathon.  Obviously I can only speak from my own experience, but I would suggest that you will find the next one easier because you are starting from a higher fitness level to begin with.

I would have thought that there was some correlation between how hard a person finds a race and how long it takes to recover.

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