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Post Marathon Recovery

Post marathon recovery is as vital to your training as is a great training plan in order to remain injury free. For me, 2021 was a year to forget as far as running goes. The contrast with 2022 is amazing. In 2021, I suffered two torn adductors which sidelined me for 9 months. However, in 2022, I ran four marathons in the year starting with Manchester in April, Kildare in June, Berlin in September and Dublin in October. Needless to say, that involved an awful lot of training. I took time off between each one to allow for some recovery, but that’s a lot of miles. Now that the marathon season is over, it’s time to properly recover and allow my body a much needed break.

We all need rest and recovery time every year. As a 54 year old, my body and mind needs more than it used to. In addition to all the training, I was disciplined with my diet. sleep and cross training. I tracked all my activities and target metrics in detail. In addition, I measured stats like heart rate, sleep hours, water and calorie consumption every day. It is liberating to take time to just live, without recording my every move. This post marathon recovery period is a time to relax the discipline, just a little.  I give myself space to run off-plan for a couple of months, and not be regimented with my nutrition. 

It was an enjoyable year of running. I loved every minute of my racing, grateful for every mile under foot. But I will also enjoy this next recovery period. When it comes to weight, I like to be as close to 150lbs as possible on race day. In recovery mode, however, I don’t mind getting up to 160-165lbs as long as I’m eating relatively healthy and keeping some level of fitness. It isn’t a worry

Dublin Marathon 2022
Dublin Marathon Finish
Post Marathon in Manchester
Top 3 runners - Sub three hour marathon
Top three in Kildare
Post marathon recovery Walking the Dog
Walking the Dog

As for training, this is a time to run whatever I feel like. I don’t plan any regimen of sessions or specific miles. I am not concerned about hitting target paces either. If I feel like running a pacy run, then pacy it is. Otherwise, it is slow and steady. Instead of 70-80 mile weeks, I cut my weekly mileage down to 30-50, depending on how I’m feeling. It’s a very relaxed time of the season. The added bonus is it gives me a lot more free time during the week. I catch up on tasks that I may put off the rest of the year, like writing, for example 😊

Three to four weeks after a target marathon is also a great time to hit a 5k or 10k race. My body is fairly well recovered, but I’m still in good shape. This ensures my post marathon recovery is not put at risk. It gives me a bonus after-effect from my months of dedicated marathon training.

For cross-training and to keep my fitness from dropping too far, I do a bit more walking. Although I don’t like the cold, wet winter weather, it is a lovely time of year to dress warm and just get outside in nature. We are blessed in Fermanagh with some amazing scenery in our local forestries and parks. I get reacquainted with my dog, Chief (pictured), as well.

On the course at the Manchester Marathon
Post marathon recovery - Dublin finish line
Finish Line at Dublin Marathon

I keep up my early morning core routine because it isn’t just for cross-training purposes. That 20 minutes every morning helps me focus and rev up my engine for the day. There is a great benefit from this small change in my daily routine. So much so, that I can’t see myself letting that habit ever slip by. I sleep great at night, have much more energy during the day, and my core strength has greatly improved my running form. Who knew just 20 minutes a day could harness so many benefits?

There is one last thing to mention about taking an eight-week break from structured training. I am really rearing to get back at it in the new year. In 2023, I have the London Marathon booked for April. My training will start in January. Needless to say, I’m excited to run my first London after so many years of missing out on it. My daughter, Catraoine, and I both earned good-for-age places with our result from Manchester. It will be another special race-day for me and I can’t wait.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you enjoyed my ramblings, please like this article and share it with your running friends using the buttons below.

#MarathonRunning #RunningRecovery #RunningLife #PostMarathon

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Damian Martin

    Looking forward to reading your book John, inspirational runner and man

  2. Maria Magee

    Cannot wait to read your book John. Best of luck with it

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