Marathon Recovery

Running a marathon as fast as you can takes a long time to recover from, more than people realize, in large part because it causes a lot of muscle fiber damage. Even after 4 weeks after a marathon, damage is still present.

My guidelines for how to recover and return to running after a marathon.

* Immediately after completing marathon: Celebrate and drink water or a sports drink with sodium

* Within 30-60 minutes post-marathon: Continue celebrating; get off your feet; consume simple carbohydrate (up to 0.7 gram per pound body weight); drink water or a sports drink with sodium

* First 24-48 hours post-marathon: Consume simple and complex carbohydrate and protein  

* Week 1 post-marathon: No running

* Week 2 post-marathon: No running; light cross-training with non-running activities

* Week 3 post-marathon: 30% of pre-marathon peak weekly mileage

* Week 4 post-marathon: 50% of pre-marathon peak weekly mileage

* Week 5 post-marathon: 70% of pre-marathon peak weekly mileage

* Week 6 post-marathon: 90% of pre-marathon peak weekly mileage

* Week 7 post-marathon: 100% of pre-marathon peak weekly mileage

For example, if your peak mileage leading up to the marathon was 60 miles (96 kilometers) per week, run:

* Week 1 post-marathon: 0 miles

* Week 2 post-marathon: 0 miles

* Week 3 post-marathon: 18 miles (29 km)

* Week 4 post-marathon: 30 miles (48 km)

* Week 5 post-marathon: 42 miles (67 km)

* Week 6 post-marathon: 54 miles (87 km)

* Week 7 post-marathon: 60 miles (96 km)

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