Thursday, 31 May 2018
A Little Post-Marathon Update
You all know how much time and thought went into the prep and training for Sunday's marathon. What I didn't do, possibly because you can't until you've experienced it, was think much about the recovery afterwards. I took the dogs for a walk when we got back on Sunday, then Monday we visited Gilbert White's house for a few hours and went cycling in the evening. I felt fine, slightly achy legs but energy levels were good. I went to bed early (9.30) and slept reasonably well.
I had almost no muscle pain after the race, except for the first night when every time I turned over I woke myself up because my knees ached. This is normal for marathon runners (can't quite believe I can now refer to myself as a member of that club) and it had gone by the second night. I did some stretching on Tuesday/ Wednesday and that helped tease out the last bits of tension, but I was running down stairs without thinking on Monday afternoon so it really wasn't bad. In fact, it's been worse after hilly half marathons.
On Tuesday I met friends for coffee in the morning and then did some food shopping. But half way round I started to feel a bit grey and decided to cut it short and get home. By the afternoon my energy had crashed completely and I spent the rest of the day on the sofa reading, eating, watching the tele and feeling drained. Not like me at all, but I had absolutely nothing left in the tank. By the time M got back from work at 6.30 I was tucked up in bed snoozing :o). Poppy took advantage of this state of affairs to join me :o)
Wednesday I deliberately took things easy, even though I was champing at the bit to get out and be busy. It worked because by evening I was feeling normal again. This morning I escaped into the fields to walk the dogs for an hour then went out for a little (1 mile) exploratory run.
I hadn't expected to feel nervous - after all, I'd run over 26 miles on Sunday- but I was. It was purely psychological because I was fine. I don't know what I expected but my legs, lungs and heart all worked and I really enjoyed it. Tomorrow, a longer run and then it's more or less back to normal I think.
My plan for next time is to set two days aside afterwards for recovery and deliberately not do very much, even if I feel fine. Lesson learnt.
I read an interesting article while I was lying in bed on Tuesday, about marathon recovery times. The general consensus among experienced marathon runners is that it can take 4-8 weeks to recover from your first one, and that after that the recovery time becomes shorter and shorter, until you reach a stage where you could run a marathon a week/ fortnight without too much bother. Obviously, this is dependant on running marathons more frequently so that your system gets used to it.
I was tempted to put another one in eight weeks, but this is me being sensible: I've waited until October when we've got a gnarly, hilly, off-road fest to do. That gives me time to practice on some trails over the summer and see how my knee holds up to it. If it doesn't, I'll go back to roads in the autumn.
Now, my running friends among you- I have lost touch with who's doing what in terms of races. Barbara completed her 10k in amazing style, given that she fell early on in the race. Huge kudos to her, but I need a reminder of who else is doing what?
Hope all are well? And thanks so much for all the lovely comments on my last post. It meant a lot.