Post-Marathon: The Key To Recovery - Preview

Start your marathon recovery on the right foot

Posted: 27 April 2009

Congratulations: you've run your marathon! Now, unless you wish to spend the next few weeks plagued with soreness, sniffles and a soul-sapping sense of apathy, read on.

What you do in the days following a marathon is just as important as what you did before. Running 26.2 miles places high demands on the body and you’re likely to end up with depleted fuel stores, accumulated fluid in the muscles, dehydration and perhaps some damaged muscle tissue. So, not surprisingly, you will be susceptible to injury and infection after the race. You may also be feeling disorientated – or even depressed – in the come-down after achieving such a significant running goal.

In the full article, we cover the following topics -

Health and Nutrition

Fighting the post-marathon blues

Resuming Training

Read the full article here

Previous article
BIG 5K Index
Next article
Marathon Race-Week Q+A: Liz Yelling

recovery, marathon review, marathon raceday, london marathon, marathon misc

Discuss this article

i am looking forward to my first marathon but am also keen to not lose my hard earned fitness after. Is it ok to try a 20 mile long run about 3 weeks after the marathon if im feeling up to it ?
Posted: 27/03/2007 at 20:30

Id wait and see how you feel after the marathon first
Posted: 27/03/2007 at 20:33

I would not reccomend anything above 6 miles for the 1st 3 weeks, especially as this is your 1st marathon. Do nothing in the 1st week, and then build back up.
Posted: 27/03/2007 at 20:40

even i am being sensible in my advice, which i am not known for
robbo is right
Posted: 27/03/2007 at 20:41

many thanks for your advice i hope it wont be my last marathon as i have really enjoyed following the training schedules.
Posted: 28/03/2007 at 22:43

The well-known formula is to rest for as many days as miles you ran (i.e. 26) before getting back into 'proper' training. It's worth checking out for one of his post-marathon schedules.

Unless you're a really serious competitive athlete, I wouldn't worry about losing fitness after a marathon. Much more important is proper recovery time to let your body repair itself. Just do some gentle jogging for a couple of weeks and enjoy the marathon after-glow. Two or three weeks later you can think about doing some longer runs. You'll lose very little fitness in this time, I can assure you.

Good luck with your marathon.
Posted: 28/03/2007 at 23:15

Sorry,I meant to say that 20 miles seems like a bit too long 3 weeks after the race. Personally I'd recommend about 12 max for the first few weeks after. But as the great George Sheehan said, "We are all an experimant of one". :-)
Posted: 28/03/2007 at 23:17

Jerry Ford is the chief executive officer at Marathon Health and is responsible for overall business performance, corporate culture, and customer care. Jerry brings to Marathon Health an extensive senior management background in healthcare information technology, process improvement, and customer experience management.

Crohn’s disease

Posted: 06/05/2011 at 10:16

Posted: 06/05/2011 at 10:50

How random
Posted: 06/05/2011 at 12:30

Brilliant john, thanks for that
Posted: 06/05/2011 at 13:16

I think what John is saying is just follow your gut instincts and the urge will pass.
Posted: 06/05/2011 at 13:34

My club has a 10k race the weekend after my marathon. Be interesting to see what time I can manage.
Posted: 21/03/2012 at 08:34

These Chinese spambots are getting more sophisticated every week.  Roughly on topic, with a delicate hint of randomness.
Posted: 21/03/2012 at 09:32

I think it was Hal Higdon that has written online plans for various gaps between marathons, the minimum being 4 weeks. (I have a couple pinned on my wall at work so don't have the exact link.) e.g. the 6 week gap has a max of only 16 miles lsr and that on the sunday of the 4th week after the mara weekend, and that is when you are trying to get a bit of training in for the next one, so I wouldn't do 20 so soon.

You could adapt these plans or something else to make a maintenance plan. I believe it is better to keep a small number of mainly quality sessions per week rather than a few quantity sessions if you are going into maintenance mode. This is because VO2max is preserved better by the relatively high intensity sessions. Galloway has a book for all-year training but I haven't seen it.

Personally, once recovered I wouldn't want my maintenance plan to have gaps longer than two days and I wouldn't use long runs as a primary form of maintenance. A while ago I drew up a maintenance plan as follows: Mon 5 miles slow, Thur 4 miles tempo, Fri 5 miles slow, Sun 12 miles lsr. This gives 42 km per week. Maybe something like that would do, depending on your previous mileage and level of performance.

Posted: 21/03/2012 at 13:40

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.