So, I’ve never run a marathon before – until now, that is! – and so wasn’t sure of how I would feel after one. For some time now, I’ve been debating running another marathon this year - this time NOT up and down a mountain, mind you – to get a sense of what I could do for a “normal” marathon and to avoid any funny looks when I answer the question, “So what’s your time for the marathon?”
“I’ll wait and see how I feel after Pikes Peak,” I told myself.
But before I could think about another race - and let alone another marathon - some good, quality recovery would be in order. Enter Coach Jenny of Runner’s World Magazine. Her four-week post-marathon recovery plan includes running, cross training, stretching, and foam rolling beginning on day one and looks a little something like this:
According to Coach Jenny, “. . .every recovery is like a fingerprint—unique—and the secret truly is to listen to your body and serve up what it asks.” Well, here’s a list of a few of the things for which mine has asked since my marathon:
- French fries
- Chocolate bars
- Diet Coke
And, of course, let’s not forget. . .
- Lots and LOTS of beer and more than a few shots. . .of just about everything.
Pair this with the fact that I have still been trying to finish cleaning and settling into my new apartment – yes, yes, I am well aware that we moved in two months ago, geez! - and am trying to catch up with some friends and with several other things I put aside to train for the marathon the past few months, and my marathon recovery ‘fingerprint’ has looked a little more like this:
Some running, check. Some cross training, check. Barely any stretching, check. No foam rolling, check. Lots of socializing and eating like a pig, check. Drinking beer, check and CHECK.
I had visions in my head of myself running at a good pace, looking strong and relaxed and feeling ready to take on the world all over again.
Instead, I’ve alternated pretty much every day between feeling energized and wanting to run for miles, wanting to feel the breeze in my face and the packed dirt trail of Cheeseman Park under my feet to feeling lazy, old, and fat and wanting to feel the comfort of my living room couch against my back, a fluffy pillow beneath my head, and the television remote in my hand.
I miss running almost ever day. I miss the trails of the foothills and neighboring suburbs of downtown Denver. I miss the post-run zen that only follows a solid effort for a tough workout. And, more than all of this, I miss the energy to want to do it all over again.
I know that a little down time following a tough race is a good thing and that I need the rest. Still, I’ve got a touch of the ‘Pikes Peak up and left me ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone post-marathon blues,’ doo-wop doo-wop.
It’s been three weeks, going on four, following Pikes Peak. I’m ready to start feeling back to normal on a consistent basis – and not just every other day – now.
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.