Racing is a great great thing. It leaves you feeling so accomplished and ready for the next one the moment it is over! However, when you are in the middle of marathon training it also leaves your body pretty tired.
After the race on Saturday I knew my body needed to step back and a bit of a break. It was tired, but overall it didn’t feel awful. It wasn’t that it hurt or that something was wrong, I just knew that after running 13 miles at a hard pace your body needs to rest regardless of how it feels.
I began to look at my training plan for the week and decided to make a few changes. As you know, I am having to add a few weeks into my training so thought it would be a perfect week to take a step back and do things a little different.
The half marathon was basically a long 13 mile tempo run. However, the tempo was even faster than marathon pace. No matter how good you feel, that takes a toll on your body.
I knew a few things needed to happen going into this next week:
1. Step back a bit on the miles
2. Shorten my tempo run
3. Slow my easy pace down
If I want to be successful in my training I want to make sure I give my body enough time to recover and get back to normal.
The first run after my half marathon was an easy 8 miles. I stuck with roughly what the original training plan called for, but instead I decided I would go as slow as I needed to. I also made sure to run the entire 8 miles on soft ground. Near some of the trails there is a small 1 mile circle that is entirely on gravel. I knew it wouldn’t be the most fun, but I decided I would do this loop 8 times to stay off a concrete or other hard surface.
I ended up averaging around a 9:41 pace. Slower than most of my easy runs, but I know my body needed it. This run was also entirely in the rain so that made it a bit more interesting!
Monday morning I did another 6 miles and then Tuesday I decided it was time for another workout. While I know I need to step back I still have to get the important runs in.
It rained pretty much constantly Tuesday and Wednesday so I knew I had no choice but to run on the treadmill. This wasn’t ideal, but it had to do. I got my workout in Tuesday (1.5 mile repeats) and then followed up Wednesday with another easy 6 miles.
Thursday morning I knew I needed to do tempo work, but I knew it wasn’t smart to do the 9-10 marathon pace that the schedule would call for.
I decided the best thing was to do a shorter but faster tempo run. Here was the break down of the workout:
1.5 mile warm up
Mile 1 – 8:00 (Marathon Pace)
Mile 2 – 7:50
Mile 3 – 7:40 (Half Marathon Pace)
Mile 4 – 7:30
Mile 5 – 7:50
Mile 6 – 8:00 (Marathon Pace)
1.5 mile cool down
The workout was shorter, but I had to pick up the pace a bit more. It honestly went pretty well and after a few days of dealing with some pretty frustrating fatigue I finally felt back to normal!
This workout allowed me to still get in some quicker tempo workout but without going hard for too long.
The key after a race is to realize that your body needs a break. You may not feel tired, you may feel fine, but you just put your body through a lot. Taking it easier and relaxing is important to make sure you come back quicker and stay healthy. My main goal is making it to the finish line!
How do you recover after a tough race?
Do you edit your training plans when needed? Don’t be afraid!