How to Recover From a Hilly Half Marathon… Not

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We all know that what you do when you’re not running is just as important as how and how much you actually run. Without proper recovery, you’ll plateau in your training, at best… or, at worst, end up injured.

Which is my very long way of saying:But let’s take a step back. How are you supposed to recover from a race?

The rule of thumb you’ll see mentioned most often is that your muscles need approximately one day per each mile of your race to recover fully. If you ran a half marathon, your body would take roughly 13 days to be back at 100%; 26 days for a full, and so on.

[Personally, though, I’ve found that the more you run (and race), the faster your body will learn to recover — especially if you actively help it with stretching, foam rolling and massage.]

Does that mean you need to take 13 days off running after a half marathon? Absolutely not. But it’s a good idea to lay off any particularly brutal workouts for a week or two. Swim the day (or two) after an all-out race; ease back into running with easy shorter runs; cross train.

That’s what I usually try to do. How it turns out is another matter.

Yesterday, for example — the day after RnR SF — I went swimming. Good!

Today? The following series of events unfolded, resulting in a typical “do as I say, don’t do as I do” situation:

  • Bike to Starbucks and back home twice, for a total of six or seven miles. [Not for coffee, mind you, but for internet. Thanks, Comcast…]
  • Decide to run the three miles to the gym before meeting my tri-club for a workout this evening..
  • Turns out, the workout is running… hills. No problem! The view from the top is bound to be fantastic:
  • Run back to the gym, for a total of three more miles.
  • Head home running, get picked up a mile and a bit into it [by a truck driver. no, I think it was my husband? I don’t know, I was too tired to notice.]
  • Do all of this in brand-new running shoes. Pay no attention to the fact that they don’t match any of the countless running clothes in your closet and wear mismatched shoelaces proudly:

If you don’t hear from me in a few days, chances are Comcast have remained true to their pledge to not provide internet to paying customers — and I don’t have the legs yet to drag myself to another coffee shop.

Until then, it’s your turn to overshare: how do you recover from races or particularly tough workouts?


4 thoughts on “How to Recover From a Hilly Half Marathon… Not

    • April 10, 2013 at 10:05 am


  • April 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you for posting the photo of Sean Bean. I worked out recently that I had had a crush on him for 22 years. I honestly credit him for me marrying my husband – they come from the same town and have the same accent.
    Oh yeah…running. I tend to give myself an easy week after a half. Maybe no running, maybe a few miles. And I eat lots of cake. And then I’m back at it.

    • April 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      I didn’t even know that was his name 🙂 He will always be Boromir to me!


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