Lots of YouCanCoaching athletes have end of season Marathons coming up with a few people racing at Birmingham at the weekend. But what happens after the marathon and how should you recover?

It takes 3-4 weeks to recover properly from a marathon and a common recommendation is to allow a day of recovery for every mile of running – so 26 days.

Recovery doesn’t necessarily mean no training at all for 4 weeks – rather a mix of rest, cross training, and easy sessions.

Week 1:  All the athletes I coach have 7 days of complete rest! Yes that’s no training at all!!!!  And I encourage athletes to plan this week ahead. Most people I coach have busy lives, demanding jobs and families, so this 7 days is also space to invest some time in other parts of your life

Use this week to review your race, get a massage, catch up on sleep, socialise and eat some healthy food. And let your hair down a little! This is a great time to have a beer….or two with friends and family.

This is a really important time for proper recovery, and rushing this can lead to injury and illness further down the line. It can take some mental toughness to be dedicated with this rest especially if your head and body are used to a full training programme. If you know you’re someone who will struggle with this take some before your race to plan your recovery strategy.

Week 2: Introduce some light training such as swimming, cycling, cycling and cross training all at shorter durations than normal.  Keep activities at low intensity and don’t try anything new. Start the week with cross training and if all is well I often have athletes dong a short run towards the end of the week. Of course any injuries, soreness or niggles then take another week of rest.

Week 3: Start introducing more running of 45-60min in duration but keep the intensity super easy (Zone 1 or 2). Cross training can get back to normal levels but still only easy/moderate intensity and avoid any really long sessions.

Week 4: Back to a full week of training at normal duration, but still keeping the intensity easy to moderate. If all is well and you have no injuries, then week 5 you can return to a normal training program intensities at the same level as pre-marathon.

Get in touch and let me know and what strategies you’ve used to manage your post marathon recovery.