Monday, December 21, 2015

How To Recover From A Half Marathon

Happy Christmas week and Happy Winter Solstice!!

I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful holiday season and getting your run finished early as today is THE shortest day of the year!
I love Winter Solstice (celebrating Christmas week, baking cookies, drinking hot cocoa, spending lots of time with family) and it also means that every day after today gets a little bit longer :)

Well, I think it's safe to say that my Boston Marathon training has officially begun!

Today kicked off a 6 mile run - which carefully eases up the mileage, as I am usually running 5 miles on a Monday. My body felt good and my mind feels ready to dive into training.
I felt like I wanted to relax a bit like our Elf decided to do today...

Our elf has the right idea! :)

I want to talk about half marathon recovery. After my race last weekend, I felt good in the moments after the race. But I knew the most important focus was immediate recovery. This was not a goal race, it was just a fun tune up to test my fitness. So no matter whether you have just finished a goal half marathon, the race is just part of your marathon training, or you are running for fun, how you recover is key to how you will continue running in the days and weeks following your race.

5 Half Marathon Recovery Tips!

1. Hydrate

This is so important. Yes, you are super excited because you finished a half marathon, but your body needs hydration. Stat.
I always have a sips of water right after the race and then I like to have a cup of chocolate milk to provide nourishment and protein to the muscles.
Sometimes it is hard to balance the excitement of finishing and doing what is right for your body, but try to focus. Your body will thank you in the hours and days after the race.

2. Eat

Try and eat a little bit of food. Every runner is different and for some it can be hard to eat a lot following a race. I know that I cannot eat a ton. I will eat a half of a banana, perhaps a small pretzel and an orange slice. After that my body won't accept more food until later, but at least I know I am giving something good to my body.

3. Walk around and stretch

Definitely keep your body moving! As much as we would like to sit and relax, it's important to stretch your muscles and perform some sort of cool down.
After Vegas and Santa To The Sea, I didn't jog after the races, but I did walk around quite a bit and I stretched a lot.

4. Roll or go for a massage

After you have soaked in the afterglow of the race, taken pictures and checked out your shiny new medal, you will probably be headed home or back to your hotel. A great idea is to use a foam roller on your muscles (you will probably have some hot spots!) - I love THIS roller and I use it all the time! Although it may seem like a luxury, another idea is to get a massage to relax your muscles and get rid of any lactic acid. When I went in for a massage, my therapist suggested I come in once a week! #mybudgetiscringing

5. A day off is great!

Annnd, then get back out there and start running! :)
Seriously. I love running SO much, but I also love my recovery days. After the race last weekend (Sunday), I took Monday completely off from running. I got back out on the road on Tuesday for a light 3 miles, 5 miles on Wednesday and then 6 miles on Thursday with 8 x :30 second pick ups along the way. That was a nice way to get some pep in my legs again. Friday I was feeling REALLY tired (listen to your body!), so I took the day off and went to bed reallllly early (7:45 PM! Clearly my body was sending me a message) and then ran 11 miles on Saturday with a fun new group!

I finished the week by running an easy 5.75 miles on Sunday (since I took Friday off).
This is just to give you an example of how I eased back into marathon training after running a half marathon. I took 2 days off - you may want to take only a day off or even take more days off and cross train instead. The most important thing is to listen to your body.
Swimming is a great form of cross training that is really gentle on your muscles.

How do you recover from a race?

How many days off from running do you typically take off?

Happiness Is Running Life!


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