Hello from Seattle, Washington. We came here for a few days to spend some time with one of my best friends. We are having the most wonderful time, and headed down to Portland to spend Christmas with Steve’s family today 🙂
Although it feels like a lifetime ago, I raced the California International Marathon less than 3 weeks ago.
After the race, I was more sore than I have been since my first marathon at Philadelphia, and the travel home was not exactly enjoyable.
But I noticed that within 3 days, the soreness had gone.
With each marathon I have done, the soreness has lasted less time, which is a good sign, right?
Well yes, you don’t look like you have been beaten up while you walk around, and of course, not being in pain is good…although a sick part of me kind of likes the post marathon soreness, as it is a reminder of what you accomplished and how hard you worked to get there.
But actually, in a lot of ways, the soreness fading faster is a bad thing.
It means that you start feeling like normal a lot quicker.
If you listen to my suggestions, and take that 1-2 weeks off after your marathon, you will notice that your hunger doesn’t really go down, so you are taking in plenty of fuel….although if you are anything like me, a lot of that fuel is not exactly premium quality 😉
But anyway, with the lack of activity and ample energy coming in, you feel good, really good.
I really enjoyed the first 7 days of my time off, and even by day 9, it wasn’t like I was itching to get back out there, I could have done the 14 days no problem, but I just felt like it was “time”.
I felt rested, recovered, and ready to go.
Steve and I agreed that I would take the minimum time off, 10 days, rather than the maximum of 14 days.
The first run back, I had planned to meet up with Sara (Slattery, she did a guest post once), and some of her friends.
GREAT! I thought!
I am gonna be full of energy and will really enjoy this 6 miles. Maybe if I feel REALLY good today, Steve will let me do 7s for the rest of the week (instead of 6).
I laced up my Saucony ISO Freedom (which I LOVE by the way, quickly becoming my new favorite shoe, my coupon code TINA gets you 10% off at Saucony.com), did my warm up drills and mobility exercises, and headed down to the lobby of the hotel to meet them.
The first few minutes, I felt like one of those old films where there is a rusty robot that needs oil in its joints. All of my tendons and joints felt like they had glued together.
But that is to be expected right?
In a few minutes, I am gonna feel GREAT.
But then a few minutes turned to 10 minutes, and 10 minutes turned to 20 minutes.
My joints loosened up, but my quads felt trashed. They felt as though the marathon was just a few days ago, and they were just sore.
I was reminded of how I felt on the second day after the marathon.
How can this be?
How can I have felt SO good, but this feels so very bad.
Everything in my body felt great, except for the part of my leg from my knees halfway up my quad.
Even though I had entertaining company, and people to talk to, I looked forward to being done.
This is NOT how it is supposed to be!
Once I got back, I shared my experience with Steve, and we agreed to give it another day. If I didn’t feel any better, we would take a few more days off.
So we did.
I noticed the next morning, that my quads were actually a little sore again walking around, but once I got running (VERY SLOWLY!), I felt a significant improvement from the day before, and then the next day, another improvement.
BUT, the point of this isn’t to say that you just have to run through the soreness. I fully believe that EVERY runner should take at least one week off running after a marathon.
Even if you ran bad.
Even if you ran slow.
Even if you don’t feel tired or sore.
You still ran an entire marathon training segment, which is very hard on the body AND you ran 26.2 miles!
I don’t care who you are, THAT is hard on the body!
So you do take 1-2 weeks off, and maybe, like me, you feel raring to go, like you are rested and well.
Time to get going again.
But your body has other ideas. Maybe yours isn’t your quads. Maybe it isn’t even muscle at all and you just feel very tired.
A marathon is hard on your body, and this soreness I experienced was a great reminder for me that our bodies are amazing.
They are able to repair quickly, and get you back to a comfortable state.
But even though you no longer feel the soreness, that does not mean that your body is healed. There is still a lot going on internally, and that should not be ignored.
This is so important at this time in a training segment. if you are not careful, you can put yourself in a deep hole, that can take a very long time to climb out.
This is the time that most people either end up picking up an injury (even if it does not surface for a few more weeks) and it is also the time when a lot of people end up on the verge of overtraining and push their body over the edge.
We kept my runs very slow this week, and we will be increasing the mileage based on how I feel, being very conservative.
We know that I always take a little longer to recover from marathons than most, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I just make sure to stay away from those accounts on Instagram that make me feel bad about myself.
If they recover faster, good for them, but you will have a strength in another area that they don’t 🙂
Just like I say you need to Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. about your body type and how different we are in shape and size, every body recovers at a different rate, so don’t let the comparison trap make you feel bad.
I just wanted to share this today to show you that if you are struggling to bounce back after a race, you are not alone.
This is the time more than any other to listen to your body, and I hope you will commit with me, right here, right now, to listen to its plea.
Even if you are not a marathoner, this still applies to you, just maybe on a shorter scale.
Don’t go trying to run hard again a few days after a tough race. Let your body tell you when it is ready, and if in doubt, always take an extra day.
And of course, keep those damn easy days easy!!!!
Alright, I will get off my soapbox now.
Let’s stop trying to force extra in, and instead spend that extra time with our loved ones over the next week 🙂
How quickly do you tend to bounce back after a race?