Recovering from a Marathon

July 3, 2016

It has been two weeks since I finished Grandma’s Marathon, and life post race is definitely different now.

The nine months leading up to the marathon were very intense–long runs of 16+ miles every week, tempo or speed workouts at least once a week, and high mileage working up to 95 miles one week. I usually had a day off every 10 days, but other than that there wasn’t much down-time.

I always take at least one full week off from running after a marathon. After my marathon last August I took two full weeks off. This time I didn’t do any form of exercise the week following Grandma’s Marathon: no workout classes, no bike rides. . . .I just laid low and let my body heal. I was very, very sore after the marathon for four days before the soreness finally wore off.


Me, my coach (Nichole), and her husband (Nate) were in town visiting, and we had dinner together!

This week I have only run on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday–4 to 6 miles each time. My coach had a plan for me this week, but she said to take days off or rearrange the schedule depending upon how I am feeling that day. My right hip flexor actually started to bother me mid-week, so I opted for some additional days off.

Even though part of me wants to ‘get after it’ again right away, I know I need to spend this time resting and letting my body heal and recover from the marathon. It is better I opt for a little bit of extra time off now because it will benefit me more in the long run.

The marathon is such a B E A S T, and it literally takes me nearly a month to feel back to my normal running self. I once read that it takes a day for your body to recover for every mile raced. For example, if you race a 5K (3.1 miles), then you should expect your body to need three days to feel recovered. For the marathon (26.2 miles), this means it takes 26 days to recover from racing a marathon, and I definitely think this is the case.

So instead of running, we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors because summers in Alaska mean spending every waking moment outside. Cullen, Sadie, and I have taken advantage of the trail behind our house for regular afternoon walks.


Last week we also hiked Gold Cord in Hatcher’s Pass. It was an overcast day, but it made for some beautiful, foggy scenic pictures.



I completely forgot the backpack to carry Cullen, so I had to carry him 85% of the way. Luckily it wasn’t too long of a hike–or too steep! He walked for a while and Craig carried him too, but he mostly just wanted his mama.


I was a bad Mom and forgot cold weather gear for him. (I didn’t think it was going to be that cold!) Luckily Craig, who is a former boy scout, follows his motto of ‘always being prepared’ and had a hat and gloves for Cullen to borrow.


It was a really pretty hike back to a small lake coming off a glacier.


Cullen learned the fun of throwing rocks into bodies of water while in Duluth along Lake Superior, so he and Craig had fun throwing rocks into the lake. Kristy, my sister, taught him to say ‘splash’ every time someone throws a rock in, and it is just too cute.


Next week I am hoping to get back to more running, and I also need to get a massage! The recovery from this marathon is very important as I am hoping to run another marathon in August. Yes, I’m crazy!

    1. Let your BODY tell you what you should do. READ your body…it will lay out a perfect plan…no one else can tell your body what to do. Stay well and not HURTING. Hurting is not good for the body…..Chuck J an ex marathoner.

    1. I feel like my marathon recovery has 3 phases. Phase 1 of feeling actively terrible, super sore, & nearly falling asleep pretty much constantly thankfully now only seems to last one day. Phase 2 seems to be 3-4 days of feeling much better, but maybe a bit sore in a few places & needing a lot of sleep & *definitely* not wanting to do anything physical. Phase 3 is when I feel pretty much normal day-to-day & can start doing small bits of running, but more than just a few miles still wears me out. That seems to last about a month. After that I’m usually back to normal & ready to start (slowly) training again.

      Gorgeous pictures!! Makes me yearn for another trip to Alaska. Best luck with the recovery!

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