16 Weeks to Your First Marathon: Week 16

April 28, 2014

Recovering from a Marathon!

Congratulations on running your first marathon!!  There is no doubt that you are feeling an overwhelming mix of sensations this morning: pride, accomplishment, happiness, soreness, sadness, disbelief and an intense sense of “did I really just do that?”  If you are like me, you have already cried a few times and are holding your head a little higher today.  The last 4 months have been an incredible journey, one that I have been so honored to share with you.  We started this journey with only 10 (challenging) miles under our belts and yesterday, we completed 26.2 miles with strength, endurance and joy.  I truly appreciate you sharing this experience with me.

While our marathon may be complete, we are not done with our training.  There is a lot to be concerned about in the week following a marathon.  It may be incredibly tempting to do absolutely nothing for the next 7 days (or months), but keeping our bodies in motion will help us to physically and mentally recover faster and will leave us stronger and healthier.  Here are a few tips for post-marathon recovery:

Keep moving- Follow this week’s recommended workouts (below) to keep you muscles loose and your joints lubricated.  Don’t worry–no more early mornings!  These simple walking exercises can be done whenever you are ready and feeling strong.  Also, consider incorporating a restorative yoga class into your week.  Find a class that focuses on long, easy stretches and let your instructor know that you are recovering from a marathon.  Focus on breathing, stretching and twisting to help push soreness-causing toxins out of the body.

Stay Happy- Many runners suffer from short bouts of depression after completing a marathon.  After dedicating your life to something for so many months and after pouring every ounce of energy into the race, the days following a marathon can feel empty and goal-less.  Stay focused on the amazing accomplishment you have just completed and be sure to surround yourself with positivity.  Allow yourself to focus on healing and recovery before setting your sights on life’s next challenge.  There’s nothing like turning your focus towards a new goal to chase away the blues!

Feel Well- After a marathon, your immune system may be weakened due to the extreme stress you just endured.  Be sure that you are sleeping and eating well during the next week and of course, stay hydrated!  Dehydration is a sneaky thing and yesterday’s race may have started a dehydration pattern that could carry over into the following weeks, even if you don’t feel dehydrated. Watch out for respiratory infections and fevers and rest if you think you may feel ill.

Protect your feet- Tiny fractures and sprains in the feet are fairly common after a marathon, so be sure to pay attention to any soreness you are feeling this week.  Wear supportive, comfortable shoes (don’t you even think about putting on those adorable heels, ladies) and soak your feet in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salt in the evenings.

Massage- Consider getting a professional massage sometime this week to help ease sore muscles or practice your self-massage techniques at home.  For extra healing, make your own pain relieving cream at home by mixing half a cup of coconut oil with 5 drops each of eucalyptus oil, camphor oil and peppermint oil.  This simple balm used with a massage will have you feeling (and smelling) great in no time.  Pro tip: It is also a great insect repellant!

Here is our final week of recommended workouts, week 16- You did it!!

Monday: 20 minute walk

Tuesday: 30 minute walk

Wednesday: 30 minute walk

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 30 minute walk

Saturday: 30 minute walk

Sunday:  Rest

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Runner’s Breakfast: Vegan Masala Chai Granola


Photo:  JLM Photography via Flickr

Claire-Marie Harris is a writer, blogger and vegan cook who recently returned to her home state of Texas after living in Asia for many years. A passionate traveler, animal activist and food lover, she is the founder of Kimchi Tacos and is currently writing her first cookbook. She lives in Dallas with her husband and three furry kids where she continues her work in animal welfare. Find her on her blog, Flickr or Instagram.


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