What to Do After Running a Marathon
Life after racing 26.2 miles
You put in the time to train, you made it to the starting line of your race, and you completed the 26.2 mile distance (maybe a little more if you weren’t able to run the tangents!). You should be proud.
Wondering, “now what?!”
It’s time to recover!
After following a plan and running all the miles week after week, you likely feel like a running machine and want to get back out there and keep running.
However, you really should take a break!
Take it from someone who’s been there and not done that – your body will thank you for listening to what may be just whispers about what it needs right now.
Recovering from a marathon the smart way can feel more challenging than training for the race itself.
Trust me, I get it!
That being said, if you want to run another marathon and perform well, you don’t want to skip this important part of a marathoning training plan.
How long of a break should you take when recovering from the marathon?
You’ll want to aim for at least one and possibly two weeks off from running even if you are back to walking fairly normally.
An ideal way to help your body recover fully is to take 1 week off from any challenging workouts (you can and should still walk and get your blood flowing, but don’t plan on attempting a marathon of HIIT classes at the gym now that you have the time!) and then a week off from running. During your second week off from pounding the pavement, you can focus on cross-training activities that will help you keep up your cardiovascular fitness.
What will you do if you don’t run?
Believe it or not, there is more to life than running!
There are many forms of exercise that don’t involve running that can be enjoyable!
You can also use your time to learn more about the sport by reading about it (I shared a few of my favorite running books in THIS past blog post) or signing up for a course on running. The Revo2lution Running Certification Course I’m teaching in Newport, Rhode Island next month (November 20, 2021), is one great option. While this course was designed for fitness professionals, it can also be enjoyed by runners looking to train smarter.
Fun non-running routines to try in South County Rhode Island
In my drives off of Aquidneck Island to share my Running Coaching class information with other certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors, I’ve found a few fun fitness options to try.
1. Pop Up Pilates at the 1661 Inn Patio on Block Island
Pilates can be a great complement to your running routine. This first idea is also a shout out for a fitness class I am hosting and you know what they say, first is the worst! It really won't be the worst, but I do feel bad starting a list meant to promote other businesses with a shout out to my own.
That being said, allow me to evoke another trite phrase - time is of the essence! I am sharing this first because, this class is happening in less than 24 hours.
Who has time to coordinate a last minute trip to Block Island, you ask?
Well, that's the beauty of Fit Armadillo!
We've been offering online fitness classes and private personal training sessions since before it was required. You can participate in this class even if you can't make it to the 1661 Inn in person (they are actually sold out of rooms as of my typing this post!).
Head HERE to learn more and save your spot.
If you found this post after October 21st, 2021, you are encouraged to share in the comments where you'd like us to Pop Up for Pilates next. While we aren't ready to commit to booking in person retreats just yet, we definitely still want to host fun classes in beautiful locations where we'd like to travel to with you one day.
Inspire us with your idea of where that should be so we can scope it out and share it virtually before planning our bigger vacation!
2. Rock Spot Rock Climbing
Many of my friends have tried to get me into rock climbing. I haven't tried it yet, but last week I drove by one of the 5 Rock Spot Rock Climbing locations and decided to check it out.
OK, to be honest...
I actually may have slammed on my breaks when I saw the gym out of the corner of my eye. I had no idea it was so close to Newport, Rhode Island (remember, I used to live in Los Angeles so anything that doesn't require 30 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic feels like a breeze!).
When I walked inside, I found the space, staff, and members to be quite welcoming and informative (shout out to Heather on the inside and owner, Lary, who I "ran" into - I swear I wasn't actually running! - outside of the gym). I would have spent some time climbing that very day, but...
The experts said you actually need some leg strength to rock climb!
Luckily, my legs feel almost recovered this week and I have another new to climbing friend who wants to join me so we will be back at the gym soon with our full report. In the meantime, check out this great behind the scenes video clip about the New England based Rock Spot Climbing gyms:
You know I fell a little more in love with this spot when I found out the name of their October sign up specials - Rocktober - so fun!
If you're a Rhode Island local recovering from the Newport Marathon, Hartford Marathon, Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon or maybe even the Berlin Marathon (you 6 star chaser, you!) and want to meet us to join in our friendly competition for the worst beginning rock climber out there, please reach out!
Seriously, we'd love more moral support!
3. Bottega Yoga
Speaking of brag-worthy branding, we are currently obsessed with this super sweet yoga spot that's just down the street from Rock Spot Climbing's Peace Dale Location.
I noticed the sign for Bottega Yoga from the street and walked around the back of the shopping plaza when I saw the sign that said nama-don't go, nama stay.
After trying the door, I thought I really needed to work on my arm strength!
Luckily, that's only partly true and owner, Aubrey, and "sexy secretary, Paul," were pulling up to unlock the space.
I've seen a lot of fitness studios in my day and I have to tell you, Bottega Yoga is just breathtakingly beautiful. You really need to visit it for yourself!
Especially, because I only have a few borrowed photos of the business. While I was on this adventure, my phone died and my post-marathon brain forgot to put my charger back in my car.
What's most impressive about Bottega Yoga is that this COVID business baby was born in April of 2021. When you visit the gorgeous space, you can tell that owner, Aubrey, had this vision for a while. She's definitely fitness studio decorating #goals!
Bottega Yoga doesn't just offer yoga classes! They have a variety of fitness formats. Check out the full schedule HERE.
4. Surf Lessons at Narragansett Surf & Skate Shop
While on the mainland, you have to check the surf at Narragansett Beach, right?!
Well, I did and the surf was up, but my legs wouldn't have kept me up for long so I had to just watch. This is a very good thing, because I have a LOT to learn when it comes to surfing!
If you do, too, you should stop by Narragansett Surf & Skate Shop. When I did, they said they are still offering lessons!
I bought my beginner's foam top surfboard last October and while my surfing isn't pretty, it felt pretty sweet to be able to get in the water last winter. I'm actually quite certain doing so saved my sanity since I'm a total beach lover, but we weren't able to travel to the beaches I would have escaped to during a normal winter. I've also found that I run better on days after I've surfed (or "surfed"). Maybe you will, too 😉
5. Scope Out New Gear at Wakefield Running Company
I'm a bit spoiled here in Newport, Rhode Island, with Run Newport within walking distance of Fit Armadillo headquarters!
However, there's a great running shoe store on the mainland, too!
I finally stopped by Wakefield Running Company on my trip to spread the word about the Revo2lution Running Course and found lots of things I wanted to buy and try!
Sadly, my legs were still not up for even a trial run of their shoes, but I plan to come back for a run club night! The Wakefield Running Company has weekly runs on the local bike path, which is right by their store. What a fun, safe way to get back into running after your 2 weeks of recovery time!
I also love their Instagram posts which combine silliness with sage advice.
Thank goodness for recovery time, because my double wide shoes are on a serious backorder right now 🙁 I wish I had seen the post above sooner!
6. Visit a Physical Therapist
Even though I often abbreviate the job title of a personal trainer to PT, the original "PT" is a physical therapist.
These professionals are my heroes!
While my favorite of all time is Deb Heilman in Wolcott, CT (I don't think I would have run a 2nd marathon let alone the Boston Marathon without her help), there are many great physical therapists in Rhode Island.
I've had several OPT Physical Therapists work on me after I've run road races in the Ocean State and was excited to see one of their offices in the same plaza as Bottega Yoga!
Even if you feel great after a marathon (all things considered!), it can be helpful to see a physical therapist. They can assess your biomechanics and see how you are moving after the marathon. Your physical therapist may be able to perform some manual manipulations to realign your body and have you moving and running more efficiently. During your post marathon session, your physical therapist can also share exercises you can do at home to prevent running related injuries in the future.
BONUS ideas for marathon recovery time (not South County specific):
7. Find a virtual race to complete
If you are goal oriented, but know signing up for an in person race will bring out your competitive spirit, you can complete a virtual fitness event.
One of our favorite authors, Paula Rizzo,
(she gave a great endorsement for my bestselling book! and was a past guest on The Fit Fifteen podcast show), is currently raising money for one event that benefits the Books for Kids Foundation. Check it out HERE.
8. Get out your calendar and plan for your next race
After running a marathon, you either want to do it again or never again.
If you're in the first camp, you are likely wondering how soon you can run your next marathon.
If your goal is to have a better race day performance, you should aim to race the marathon distance no sooner than 4 months from your last marathon attempt. Sure, there are outliers (like superhuman Shalane Flanagan who has completed 5 going on 6 marathons in just over 1 month's time and is still standing and running), but most runners will want to take 4 to 6 months between marathons.
Once you find your next race and have survived the 2 weeks recovery time I suggested, you can get back into running by doing a reverse taper.
Try to run 30% of your peak marathon miles in week 3 and gradually increase your mileage from there. Be sure to listen to your body as you progress your training. It's better to back off and make adjustments in the beginning of a training cycle than to forge ahead if your body doesn't feel right. You could end up suffering from an injury that you might not be able to recover from before race day. Systematic, progressive training and listening to your body is the key to success.
Not sure how to do this?
You can always hire a coach (I'd be happy to coach you!) or take the Revo2lution Running Certification program, learn all our secrets, and maybe start coaching yourself!
How's your marathon recovery going?
Now that you've read my marathon recovery tips and ideas for cross-training, I'd love to hear how life post-marathon is going for you!
How long did you rest after your marathon? Have you tried any of these alternative activities? Have a great location for our next Pop Up Pilates class?
OR are you still getting ready for your fall marathon?! I know I have a few friends and clients running the New York Marathon next month!
Share your questions and anything else on your mind in the comments: