Thoughts on Recovery

I have come to the conclusion that the recovery period after a marathon is infinitely worse than taper. At least during taper you have the excitement and possibility of the RACE waiting on the other side. During recovery, I only have miles and races in the {seemingly} far off future to dream about.

I know many runners get to the end of training for a big race completely ready for a break. There is a time when we don’t want to just run, but to tackle fun workouts or new challenges that we avoid during training for fear of being sore. There can be the desire to be done with a set schedule that MUST be followed or just to have a little extra free time. I have been there. I was there at the end of training for my first couple of marathons and again during 70.3 training last year. I know what it’s like for my mind and body to need a BREAK.

Today, I am not there. I finished the NYC training cycle hungry for more miles, for hard work. Sure, my body is probably still recovering from the effort I gave in New York, but the rest of me is itching to run. Maybe its because this is the first time (per Coach’s orders) that I have truly recovered properly from the marathon? Or maybe its because New York training was interrupted by that pesky injury? Or maybe its because I have BOSTON looming as my next big goal? But I am going crazy over here. That caged animal people talk about in relation to taper…I have never felt that before a race but I certainly know now what they mean.

The marathon was 2 weeks ago. Since then, I have run a total of 7 miles. Last week I also added 2 spin classes and I have been to yoga twice each week. I know this is what smart recovery looks like, but even getting in a good sweat right now doesn’t scratch the itch. I just want to run. 

photo 1 (3)

Happy Runner!

BUT, I’m learning that a secondary benefit to a full recovery and rest period is the fire it lights inside. Sitting and thinking about my next big goal and what it will take to get there has me feeling more committed than ever. Remember when I talked about the other things? This time off has given me the opportunity to process  how I will fit those things into my schedule. I have created a strength training plan to fix the collapsing hip…


Yeah, that one (but no plans to fix the ugly face). And I am working to incorporate yoga and core strength into my schedule to make me strong and ready to increase mileage when the time comes.

The downtime is also preparing me for the inevitable challenge that will be training through my first Chicago winter. I am sure there will be many days that it will be hard to get out the door because of single digit temps, ice, wind, etc. But having this time to mentally commit to my goals has me ready to tackle winter training. Ready to face it head-on, knowing it will make me a stronger runner when spring rolls in.

I was happy to see the mileage get a little bump this week, from 6 to 15ish, all of the *easy* variety. And I will happily run those 15 miles, while reminding myself that to improve as a runner, I must let my body recover and repair itself so that I can return healthy and strong. Because as Coach says, “An injured runner is not a runner.”

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, Goals, injuries, Races, running, training. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Thoughts on Recovery

  1. Beth says:

    This is so true. I am not just 2 weeks and a couple of days out from IMFL and I shut it down completely for a week and now have slowly gotten back into running. I’m going crazy, and it seems odd – but I miss the long workouts! My house is now spotless, closets all cleaned out and now I am restless!

    Good luck with your first Chicago winter! We will be up there Dec. 4-7th, can’t wait!!

    • Corey says:

      I love that…”my house is spotless and my closets are cleaned out”. When I finished 70.3 training last fall I was the SAME way. All of the double workouts just left me exhausted. Now it is kind of the opposite…since I am not doing much I feel sort of sluggish and lazy!

  2. Terzah says:

    I’d love to hear about that strength routine to deal with your core. I don’t have the hip drop but I’ve had problems with my back again ever since Chicago and I know it’s because the core work has slipped.

    I’ve missed racing, too, but I’ve got a good 5K queued up. The switch of gears has been nice.

  3. elizabeth says:

    curious what all you will do for your hip. need to change my stuff up i think. glad you are listening to your body. need to be better at doing that- i may or may not be injured again. i’m just in denial about it.

  4. ErinAMG says:

    awesome stuff, babe! you’ll have a blast this winter, promise. chicago running is all about the extremes–extremely windy, extremely cold, extremely humid, whatever. it keeps life interesting 😉

    but yes! Boston! you’re going to do GREAT. I feel like my own experiences have taught me that post-marathon, pre-new-training-cycle running is just about moving without any expectations. I want to run single digit mileage? I do. Double digits? Sure. 9minute+ miles? Ok. MP miles? Why not. The stakes are low and my expectations non-existent. It makes me think of running (or more generically, exercising or ‘moving’) while pregnant; it’s not so much about achieving the A standard every day as it is just about doing something… anything.

    would love to see and run with you sometime, so let me know when a good time is to crank out the easy miles 🙂 planning a rundezvous in the a.m. and a social gathering of sorts in the p.m. on 12/14, so i’d love to see ya then, if not before! xo

  5. This was the first time I truly told myself no running in that first week post marathon no matter how I felt!! The next week I tried to let my body be the guide and I have been doing a lot of biking, which feels ok. It seems like my energy bounced back after 10 days so I did jump into runs but all at LHR, which I hope will keep me in check for a bit.

    • Corey says:

      You know, funny enough…as bad as I want to run, my body is definitely not recovered yet. My longest run has been 30 min and at the end I felt tired and ready to be done. There’s not one specific thing bothering me, it just feels tired in general.

  6. Pingback: Friday Fun |

  7. I’m so glad you’re recovering well and are itching to race again! I love when I have that fire in me… 🙂

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