Training After a Race

I think one of the most overlooked aspects of training for a race, is what comes afterwards.
Recovery time should definitely be part of your race plan.

 
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I always feel fine after a race, but then a couple of days later it hits me: I’m tired, my legs are sore, and I’m hungry all the time.

 
The most common advice I have heard is to rest or do light exercise for the number of days equivalent to the number of miles raced.
I guess that could make sense, even though there’s a lot of grey in thatโ€ฆ how many days to completely rest? How many days to do light exercise? How light is light?

 
Personally, I don’t go by the rule above of taking one rest day for each mile ran, but closer to half of that.. so if I ran a 10K/6.1M I will take it easy for 3-4 days, and if I ran a half marathon (21.1K/13.1M) I will take it easy for a week.

 
Also, because I taper before a race, making the week before the race much lighter in running distance than my average week, the days after the race that I rest or take easy, I still average a running distance similar to a regular running week.

 
For example:

 
RD

 
However, the days after a race are always light in intensity.

 
WA

 
In addition to adjusted training, I try to give extra importance to good nutrition, and eating an extra amount of calories (my body screams for this), getting enough sleep, foam rolling, stretching, and drinking a lot of water.

 
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How do you adjust your training after a race? What else do you do differently?

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Training After a Race”

  1. I think this is a great way to approach recovery! Plus, everyone’s body is different, so you just need to figure out what your body needs. Focusing on nutrition and light, easy runs is perfect!

    1. I agree that we should listen to our bodies. Personally as a relatively new runner/racer, I follow general advice at first and slowly made my own version of recovery time.

  2. After a marathon I will rest for a week and then start running again slowly and see how my legs feel. I also train 3 days a week which is not much but it gives me enough time to rest and fit in the rest of my non running life.
    As far as running is concerned… I’m feeling great and running faster, injury free and enjoying it.

    1. That’s great that you found a good balance between running, rest, and life. I can’t say I’m there… but I’m enjoying myself anyway.
      Do you rest for a week after a marathon because you really feel you need/want it, or more as a precaution and are itching to go back running?

  3. My post race training schedule depends on what my “A” race for the year is. For example, this year I won’t take any time off in my training until after Ironman in September. Even though I will have a 1/2 Ironman in June, that is only half the distance I will need to go in September, so I will just keep chugging forward until my “A” race ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Interesting! I understand (a little) about recovery time. But I’ve never given a thought to the amount of days of recovery. Hmmm ….

    I have sooo much to learn still. Thanks for the great topic.

  5. Interesting. I’ve never really gone with a recovery plan. Though I will take a couple days easy. For me it depends on the intensity of the race and where it falls on my grand race-plan schedule. It’s all about active recovery and knowing you can get out there a couple days before your body says okay…

  6. I do think recovery after a race is very important and good nutrition!! You made very good points in your post!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    After a race, I usually take a few days off to give my body the proper amount of time to heal and recovery!

  7. I can’t imagine taking an entire week off completely!! After my half marathons, I’ve rested completely for one day, then hit the treadmill for a quick 3+ mile walk inclined with some weight training, the next day a walk outside, then a short recovery run. After that, it’s back to my regular schedule. I’m sure I could tweak this. I’m still learning!

  8. I haven’t done a race in so long but I am inclined to agree with you. I don’t think you need to take it easy for the number of days equivalent to the number of miles run. That would be almost a month of easy after a marathon. I think that’s too much. I usually just go by how my body feels but I like the half theory.

  9. For the first time, I’m actually excited to, have just short easy runs on my schedule this week. I do have 10 or so miles for Sunday, but this is only a pseudo-recovery week since my race was really a long training run. But even so, I have to scale back this week to give my body a chance to adapt to the hard miles last Sunday.

    1. I cannot even imagine what my week after a marathon would look like!
      Even though this was ‘just’ a half, it was pretty hard effort for me and I’m definitely taking it easy this week.

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