Friday, May 2, 2014

Marathon Recovery: Boston Edition

Oh look, another Boston Post for you! I told you there would be a few, don't say I didn't warn you. I've gotten a lot of questions/comments regarding my pretty speedy Boston recovery so I figured I would address it.

This is where I should tell you the amazing secrets to my success so you can recover like a champ too. Well, sorry to disappoint but there really isn't a rhyme or a reason to it.

Last week--
After the race: I stretched a little, then rested a little and then stayed out all night celebrating(totally worth it). Sat in a car for 6 hours, until I proceeded to sleep on and off for like 12 hours when I got home.

I was in a 'mood' Wednesday(post-marathon blues for sure) and agreed to run with some friends because I knew it would make me feel better. 8 easy miles, definitely not the smartest but it felt really good to work some of the crap out of my legs. I actually felt better after the run physically, I was more loose and felt less 'weighted down'. Followed the run up with 2 gigantic slices of pizza for the win.

Thursday and Friday were easy days with no running, and actually involved 6ish hours in the car Friday night heading to NJ. Friday's car ride/dinner involved LOTS of caffeine, candy and finished with red velvet cake when we arrived at Hollie's. Saturday I did 6 super easy miles with Heather and Hollie which mentally and physically was just what the doctor ordered. The weekend included coffee, beer, cake, burger the size of my head, lots of candy, cheetos, diet pepsi, cheesecake and above all....lots of laughter(best medicine!).
Hollie, me & Heather before our relaxed shake out run in NJ
Sunday I ran a little over 2.5 miles in the morning while spectating at the NJ Half Marathon, my legs didn't feel great but not horrible either. Heather and I spent the whole ride home talking about fall races and goals and my legs were getting antsy just talking about it all. I knew I was going to run when I got home, and I also knew the 'easy' thing wasn't going to last long. Started with 3 easy miles and then did 3 miles at or faster than goal marathon pace...which felt amazing. 

So basically in the first week after Boston, I had the diet of a frat boy, sat in a car for over 20 hours, ran (putting myself at ~50 miles for the week), got little sleep, and generally did everything you "shouldn't" do after a marathon. Recovery done wrong-ish but maybe not.

How do I feel? My legs feel good, I'm sleeping better than ever, my head is pretty damn clear and I generally feel like myself (or at least the new version of myself). I'm adjusting to my new life and maybe that's what is helping.

No I am not superhuman, and certainly didn't expect to have non-trashed legs this soon. But if it makes you feel better, Heather was laughing at me every time I went down stairs this past weekend.

I have 2 theories as per my recovery, maybe I'm completely off base but who knows.

1. The weeks leading up to the marathon were not "hard". There was no high mileage, there were no insane workouts, there was no peaking and there was a strong taper. Being injured changed this cycle for me a ton, but also allowed me to give my body time to heal. I had so much else going on in my life on top of being a semi-injured runner that I didn't have time to focus. I went into Boston pretty damn fresh and didn't have months of hard training on my legs.

2. I didn't race Boston. Don't get me wrong, a 3:20 is still my third fastest and obviously I still had to try for it. I didn't leave everything on that course though, absolutely not. I ran smart and controlled and knew that it was the best thing for me that day, and the best thing for my future goals. I love marathons, but I also know that I can't run them frequently and have them all be 'balls to the wall'. I truly believe that I had such a successful fall marathon season with Wineglass/CIM because I didn't all out race at Cleveland last spring. Cleveland was 'another marathon' for me and not a goal race which allowed me speedier recovery and quicker turnaround to focus on Musselman and the fall marathons.

 I'm looking at Boston the same way, I feel like I am setting myself up for a kick ass fall season by not killing myself with training this time around. Granted that wasn't the original plan (I never planned to fall down the stairs, or be injured or have ridiculous life changes during this cycle), but whatever...everything happens for a reason right? Yeah, let's go with it. 

So moving forward, yes I feel good but I am also trying to be smart. I'm going to work on a strong base for a while but still get some good workouts in. I feel like I am mentally and physically in a really good place to start pushing myself and trying new things, when the time is right. I just said to someone the other day that I have always done the same things with training and...the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Time to start taking chances, stepping outside of my comfort zone and finding what truly is the best for me in order to get the results that I want.

So what you really want to know about recovery-- it's different for everyone and it's different in every situation. Maybe I will wake up one of these days feeling like I got hit by the marathon truck a little late, and maybe I won't. What I do know is that I am more driven and motivated than ever to move forward and to tackle some big training. 

Thoughts on Marathon Recovery?

Favorite post-race food/drink?


  1. I love this post because I love hearing someone tell it like it is and also let loose a bit. There's far too much uptightness in the blogosphere--thanks for keeping it real!

  2. I always run after a race!! People think I am crazy, but it's great to not let my muscles get so sore and stiff. It's definitely not the prettiest of runs, but so worth it. Thanks for being real!!

  3. Ran Boston as well and can relate to not doing recovery "right" I actually didn't feel as trashed as I thought I would given how tough race day was, and ran 2 days after the race without a hitch. I'm thinking the warmer weather race day followed by a cool down might have had something to do with it but who knows! I also took it pretty easy the 3 weeks prior to the marathon.

  4. Right or wrong on recovery it worked for you and sounded like tons of fun!!! After my half marathon we sat on the metro link for half hour back to my friends house then I sat in the car for a 3 hour drive home.. Not smart but I wasn't sore either the next few days.
    Nothing wrong with taking the week to celebrate the marathon :)

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  6. Might not have been the greatest recovery, but it worked for you and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do :)!
    After hard workouts I like to have a glass of chocolate milk. I am not the best at race recovery...but working at it. I am getting a new race recovery accelerator to try and I can't wait!!!! I am always sick to my stomach after a full...and actually after my last half I was too. It didn't last long after the half but it takes hours for me to feel okay after the full...and I usually just want salty crackers or something is the next day that I eat like a crazy woman :)

  7. I was at a wedding all weekend and had beach house frat boy diet too. Cheesecake can be consumed for 3 meals a day in case you were curious...
    Your frat boy food sounds fabulous.

  8. I'm a big fan of the frat boy diet post race. That's pretty much how I ate post 5 half marathons. Also a big believer in recovery runs.

    My favorite post race foods? Anything not nailed down LOL.

  9. I wish we could go back to frat boy diets this week too. Red Velvet cake I miss you.

    I'm really glad how well and easy you are recovering from the race. I think that your next marathon is going to be another PR under your belt and so strong.

  10. That's awesome your recovery was fast and easy! And crazy with the high mileage. I think recovery gets easier with each Marathon, or long run... I've noticed. I also havent run them as fast as you though... haha. I definitely think recovery runs are important. My favorite recovery drink is chocolate milk mixed with protein powder!

  11. Congrats on your "controlled 3:20" at Boston!! I have never done a controlled marathon, so I'm taking notes! My best guess is that if you ran under your potential.. no harm in an easy run after the race.
    Hope you are doing well and that moving forward has you in a happy place.♥

  12. This subject interests me, but you're very right, we're all different. I think having extra easy taper time leading to Boston helped a ton with your post race choices .. For me if I over-taper I tend not to do well in the race. I think as long as you know you're body you're okay with what you've done!

  13. Only you know if you need the rest or not, if you feel like running, do it, that's my motto anyway. I'm glad you feel so great!

  14. awesome that you feel so great! My past 2 weeks has been a frat boy diet too haha ummm I should probably stop that now ;)

  15. I think recovery is different for everyone...and can be different for every race. I find that some races I am super sore and others I'm not sore at all. Listening to your body is key and that sounds exactly like what you are doing!


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