Marathon Recovery Week 2 – Easing Back into Running

Last week I started to ease back into running. I decided to still file this post as a marathon recovery post since it takes more than just a week off to recover. It was pretty nice out all week, but I had mixed feelings about returning to running. This chilly morning temperatures make it really hard to get out of bed when I’m not training for anything specific. I knew I’d feel better if I started easing back into things. In all, I ran 30 miles this past week and am feeling good. The trees were peaking this week so I spent a lot of time marveling at the colors and taking photos. I’m going to be a bit more detailed than normal since I know I am always curious to see what and how much people do the first week back of running after a big race.

I started the week out with a slow, easy run. It actually felt much better than my first run back after the marathon last year. Last year, I felt like a baby giraffe learning to walk. This year, the first few miles actually felt smooth and easy. It was slower than my regular easy pace, but just a sign that I was still recovering. After a few miles I stiffened up a bit and things started to feel heavy and tired, so I headed back home.

Tuesday was a beautiful day and I kept it was my normal rest day. My running buddy Nicole is on maternity leave and just short of her appointment to be cleared for running, but we decided to take her new daughter out for a long walk. I think we ended up doing about 4-5 miles.

Views from our walk
Views from our walk

On Wednesday, I wanted to do a longer run since I had group running plans on Saturday that would prevent me from doing a longer run that day. I hit the trail early and it just felt so cold out! I was wearing capris and my brushed-fleece shirt which really should’ve been too warm for the 43 degree temps. While it started out sunny, it was really breezy and then there was some light sprinkles. I luckily beat the rain, but overall this run was a little rough. That wasn’t anything unexpected, but I was craving getting back to runs that felt smooth and easy. I ran about 2 miles short of what I was hoping to do, but my body was telling me absolutely no more mileage for the day.

I did take an extra rest day this week, opting to sleep in on Thursday. I knew my body needed some more recovery time coming off of Wednesday’s longer run. I did a lot of foam rolling and paid attention to the areas that were still feeling tight while on the run. By Friday morning I was feeling more like my normal self and had a really pleasant morning run. My splits were back to my pre-race easy pace and most of the tightness had subsided.

Saturday morning one of our former club coaches invited everyone out for a “fall foliage run” in his neighborhood followed by coffee and light breakfast treats. I had been looking forward to this all week. Going into the run, I knew the pace would be quicker than my normal easy pace so I had planned to count this as some light “speed” work for the week. I felt good during the run and it was nice to get my legs moving again. We did a little under 6.5 miles. The route took us past some beautiful houses and I found myself checking those out more than the leaves. Afterward, we had some muffins and quiche and all hung out chatting for a while. It was a really nice way to spend Saturday morning and it was great to catch up with the group. I left my phone in the car so I don’t have any pictures from the morning.

Sunday morning when I got up I just didn’t feel like going for a run on my normal route. I decided to head out to the park where I spent most of my Sunday’s during my marathon training cycle. This meant tackling some steep hills, but it also meant I could take it as slow as I needed to and not think about my pace. I’m glad I chose to head out to the park because the leaves were amazing. At one point, everything around me was just yellow.

Gorgeous leaves on my Sunday run
Gorgeous leaves on my Sunday run
Another view from the trail
Another view from the trail

I knew hitting this route was a bit ambitious for my first week back and just 2 weeks out from the marathon. I ended up taking a note from the true trail runners out there and walked up some uphills. I turned off and headed onto a part of the trail I hadn’t run during training and just enjoyed being out in the woods. I did the last mile on the paved trail as a cool down.

The temperatures have been all over the place. Saturday morning it was a crisp 48 degrees when we headed out. It felt really nice the entire run. Sunday morning it was 63 when I headed to the trail. It was breezy and less humid than marathon day and it ended up being pretty nice. The weather looks like it’s going to yoyo this week before finally, hopefully, staying around seasonal temperatures. I would really like to at least put away my tank tops for the season!

This week I plan to stick around 30 miles again and do some speedier running at some point during the week. We’ll see how it goes!

The other highlight of the week was our Saturday night. For our anniversary back in July, I got my husband and I tickets to Anthony Bourdain’s Hunger Tour. We are both huge Anthony Bourdain fans and have watched every single episode of No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown multiple times. We started out the night at a local dive-bar type restaurant before heading over to the theater. The tickets I purchased came with copies of his new cookbook and we were both laughing so much as we read through it before he came out on stage. It was a monologue-style show and Bourdain spoke for about an hour. He hit on everything from other celebrity chefs, fast food, politics, and other thoughts on food and travel. It was both hilarious and insightful. Afterward, he opened it up to questions before calling it a night. Of course a question was where had he eaten or was going to eat in Columbus, but unfortunately he had flown in just for the show and was flying out right afterward. We really enjoyed the night and I am looking forward to tackling some more new recipes. At least these ones will make me laugh!

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A huge congratulations to my good friend Katie on her Marine Corps Marathon race on Sunday! The weather was not ideal (in the 60s, of course!), but I am still so proud of the hard work she put in over this training cycle. CONGRATS KATIE, I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. I know that in better conditions, you would’ve crushed that race.

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8 thoughts on “Marathon Recovery Week 2 – Easing Back into Running

  1. Gorgeous pictures of the fall leaves! I feel the same way about the weather. I just want to put my tank tops away! Kitchen Confidential made me really grossed out to eat in restaurants. All these years later, we still don’t eat out a lot!

  2. Beautiful trails! I’m jealous!

    In my humble, unqualified opinion, marathon recovery is less about how much you run, and more about what type of running you do. After all, everyone has different levels of mileage they can tolerate at any given point. I think the important thing is that you’re keeping the mileage easy and slow and not trying to do hard workouts already or jump right back into “training” mode. The mindset of being “in training” – having a schedule, working toward improvement/fitness maintenance – subconsciously puts a little bit of stress and pressure on us and I think that can also affect recovery. Being in a “just for fun” mentality with running can help you relax and maybe speed recovery.

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