Post Half Marathon Recovery

The half marathon is a very achievable yet challenging distance. After racing a half marathon hard, you have to give your body ample time to rest and recover before jumping back into long runs. (The only exception to this is if the half marathon wasn’t your goal race, but you used it as a training run for a longer race like a marathon.)

Four days after the Brooklyn Half, I’m no longer sore and I’m ready to go for a slow recovery run. I found this plan from runsandiego.com that I’m using as a guideline to slowly build back up my mileage in a reverse taper so that I’m ready to race the Oakley Mini 10K in three weeks.

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Still on a runner’s high and feeling deceptively strong post-half marathon

Mostly my plan is to listen to my body and run when I want to, and not run when I don’t want to. As a Type-A(AAA) person I do love following a training plan and seeing the results of hard, dedicated work day after day, but I’m starting to love the time in between training cycles just as much, if not more, than following a training plan. Running should be FUN and it’s good to give ourselves time to just enjoy running without the pressure of having to hit certain paces or miles per week.

I also developed a cold right after the half marathon, which apparently is not uncommon since, as my coach pointed out, your body is broken down after a big race and is using the energy it has to repair your muscles, so your immune system is weaker than normal. This makes it even more important to listen to my body about when it’s ready to run again, since rest is what it most needs right now.

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What my body also needs: neon compression socks and cushioned flip flops

This is my loose plan for post half marathon recovery, and some notes about how my body is feeling this week:

Day 1: Saturday, post-race

  • REST. Be a couch potato. Walking is hard, stairs are harder.
  • Stretch
  • Eat to replenish calories burned
  • Drink a lot of water (as well as coconut water or sports drink for electrolytes)
  • Foam roll, then stretch some more
  • Wear compression socks
  • Started developing a sore throat Saturday evening, took some extra vitamins

Day 2: Sunday

  • REST
  • Walk a bit to get legs moving (I ended up unintentionally walking for about an hour to brunch on Sunday afternoon, which was probably a good thing in retrospect although my legs felt like lead while I was walking!)
  • Legs were super sore, and stairs were still difficult.
  • Sore throat worse – went to bed early.

Day 3: Monday

  • REST (Not hard to do since I have an office job)
  • 10 min easy yoga- PM Yoga (free on iTunes)
  • Full blown cold – took some Nyquil before bed so I would be sure to get enough sleep.

Day 4: Tuesday

  • Massage!
  • Almost all soreness gone
  • Still sniffly

Day 5: Wednesday

  • Easy run, 3 miles (very humid!)
  • Dayquil working wonders

Day 6: Thursday

  • Yoga for Athletes class

Day 7: Friday

  • Rest

After that, I’ll see how I feel for the weekend (and whether my cold/congestion is gone) and plan to do 4-5 miles on Saturday or Sunday. Weekly training runs for the Hamptons Marathon & Half begin on Sunday, which I’m planning on going to since I’ll be on Long Island for Memorial Day weekend. It will probably be one of the only Hamptons training runs I make it to all summer, and it’s always nice to change up my running routes.

I won’t start following a training plan for this fall half marathon until late June or early July, but will try to maintain my weekly mileage around 20-25 miles until then. It will be my mother’s first half marathon, so she’s especially excited to attend the runs and get her training shirt!

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Training for the Hamptons Half last summer with my friend Kelsey – nothing like highlighter pink to make you feel like running through the summer heat!

In the downtime between training cycles, I’m also planning on focusing a lot more on yoga, and taking more dance classes since I’ve been slacking on my New Year’s resolution of taking one dance class a month.

I’m also looking forward to the Girls on the Run 5K on June 16th – this is my first season as a coach and I am so excited for my girls to run the 5K. We did a practice 5K last week (FYI New Yorkers, 4 laps around the Museum of Natural History is a 5K) and they were little superstars. If you’re in the NYC area and interested in volunteering as a running buddy, JOIN US at the 5K!

Another thing I’m excited to focus on again is cooking and baking. I’ve noticed that the amount of running I do is inversely correlated with the amount of cooking and baking I do (especially experimenting with new recipes) so I’m looking forward to doing a lot more of that before I begin training for my fall half marathon.

And then, this happened:

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I’m going to become an RRCA Certified Run Coach! 

I had been keeping an eye on RRCA courses for a while, but none were nearby and I wasn’t particularly in a rush to complete one. I did notice that they sold out almost immediately, since they’re capped at 35 participants.

When I got an email this afternoon saying a course was open in NYC in July, I didn’t think twice. I registered, and it sold out within the hour.  I am SO excited about this – more to come about the course itself and how I’ll be using the certification!

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How long does it take you to recover after a big race?

What are your favorite non-running activities to focus on when you’re not training?

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0 thoughts on “Post Half Marathon Recovery

  1. The general recommendation is 1 day of recovery for every 3k at race pace, for TRUE recovery. Thus, why most elite marathoners can only run 2-3 high level races a season. It takes a long time to get from race to race if you need a few weeks of recovery and taper before and after every event, as well as some good training between them :)

    I like to bike around town NOT in cycling gear, during taper/recovery!

  2. Congrats on the BK Half! And great post on recovery. One of the worst colds I’ve had was following one of my best performances in a race! I guess it’s the body’s way of telling you to take it easy. Hope you feel better soon! :)

  3. It usully takes me 2-3 days to recover from a half and about a week to be ready to go for a slow run after a full.

    My favorite activity when taking breaks from running is hiking, but when my legs truly need a break, I love love love swimming!

  4. I think your plan sounds smart. I ran a 10k about 3 weeks after my last 1/2 and did 3-4 short (3-4 mi) speedy runs each week (2 the first week after the 1/2). And I got a PR at the 10k! Train smart :) And congrats on the coaching cert course!

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