Recovery After my First Marathon

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The most astonishing thing to me after the marathon was the lack of recovery time.  As a ChiRunning instructor I tell my students often about the lack of recovery required in general after a run, compared to their pre ChiRunning days, but to experience it myself post marathon was truly amazing.

I was so focused on my training and the race itself that I really hadn’t thought beyond that day.  I likened it to expecting my first child.  All my energy for many months was focused on looking after my body and the due date. I had no idea how I would feel after the race, or indeed after giving birth either, come to think of it!

I’ve learnt over the years that after a long run the best thing I can do is keep moving.  I have no interest in sitting around on that day in particular.  A walk is always on the cards that afternoon.  It was the same on marathon day, I carried on walking after the race back to my sister’s house.  I walked to meet friends to celebrate and walked back.

That evening my right hip felt a little tight but nothing to be concerned out.  I hardly slept a wink as I replayed the day and the 26.2 miles over in my head.  The following morning, I was moving pretty well.  I paid a visit to friend and fellow ChiRunning Instructor Catherina McKiernan (who else would you want to talk marathons with!) and while we chatted I used her foam roller to give my body a gentle massage.   More walking with my family that afternoon.

The following day we flew back to London and much to my surprise when I woke up on Thursday, I felt like going for a run.  I enjoyed a blissful 3 mile run which could have been longer but common sense told me I should take it easy.   I felt extremely relaxed but strong.  There was no hint of a marathon in my body, it was ridiculous!

I felt incredibly excited about running, the fact that I could pick it up again so quickly.  I also knew that I must take some time to recover even if I felt I didn’t need it.  You can’t just slot the training and the marathon into an already very busy life and assume that there won’t be any effects. Or maybe you can?  Watch Danny Dreyer talk about how to recover after your event.

The following week I did feel tired, no doubt about it.  I ran when I felt like it and enjoyed not having anything to train for.  Two weeks after the race, I flew to the US and had a well-earned break walking some of the Appalachian Trails and enjoyed a very relaxing time with good friends.  The trip culminated in an instructor weekend in Asheville in North Carolina with Danny and Katherine Dreyer and 62 ChiRunning Instructors from all over the world.   It was an awesome weekend, a time to catch up with friends and make new ones.  A time to share and collaborate and discuss how ChiRunning and ChiWalking is moving forward.

Since my return to the UK, the focus is back on my training. Over the next couple of months, all my running will be below my maximum aerobic heart rate, very easy low effort running to further improve my aerobic function.  In addition to 4-5 days of running, I’m walking for an hour or so on the non-running days which I enjoy immensely and this gives me another opportunity to work on form and relaxation.

Still trying to decide on an autumn marathon in 2014, any suggestions?

Happy running.

Michelle Muldoon
Senior ChiRunning Instructor
London, UK

Posted in Beginners

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