Post race recovery lessons

Some times (most times?) runners learn a lesson the hard way.  We often work right to the edge of the line of injury and flirt with it.  We don’t know exactly where it is until we cross it, which happens to most of us at least once.

Personally, I’ve found the time I’m most injury prone is immediately after a big race.  My body is busy recovery and healing all those micro tears and I feel recovered before my body actually IS recovered.

Recovery run

I’ll never forget my first marathon.  I was so proud of myself for finishing, and within just minutes of a Boston qualifying time.  I felt great through the whole training cycle.  I felt great afterwards (after the first few days of sore quads).

We moved to Houston just a few weeks later and I was still running, and jumped back into double digit long runs almost immediately.   After that first 13+ long run, I came home and knew I was in trouble.  My left shin was so sore it hurt to walk! Sure enough, I had finally crossed the line my body had set for me and I was forced to take off a few months to heal.RW having fun


This fall after the Maine half marathon, I felt great! I backed off a little and then ran the 4 races at the Runner’s World Festival and was amazed at how good I felt.  I took it really easy that next week in preparation for the Perfect ten mile race, and had a new pr. And again thought, I’m feeling so good!!

And then I jumped back into a busy week with a mix of spin, strength training and a little running.  I thought because I was running so little I’d be fine, but a week ago my shin (yep- the same one!) began to feel a little achy.  It’s no where near “injury status” but my body let me know that if I continue pushing it, it will be.

So I’m taking this week easy in the running department, and possibly next week too.  It’s a beautiful time of year to be out running but I’ve learned my lesson and really don’t want to repeat it.

Hopefully by playing it smart now, I’ll prevent a longer recovery time or forced time off.

Have you learned where “the line” is for your body?
How much recovery time do you take post race?  How does your body let you know when it’s time to back off?

16 thoughts on “Post race recovery lessons

  1. I’ve definitely been one to push it too hard too soon after a big race! While training for my first ironman I ran a marathon PR and was back at training 12+ hours the next week! Luckily I wasn’t injured. I think now that I have more experience I tend to realize that time off is more important than pushing through!
    Nicole recently posted..The First Run BackMy Profile

  2. Before I found out I was pregnant, I “started” running a lot more. Then due to spotting and thinking about it too much (even though the doc said it was okay to keep running), I stopped. I started running 8-10 weeks post, and built back up my miles too fast. I ran a 2-day hilly race that threw out my knees for the next 4-6 months. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to bend down to play with my kids for the rest of my life…yep, BAD! The beginning of this year, I started running again – building a little slower, but at a pace that I would be able to run my first 1/2 by the fall. We are now in the fall/winter and I have run 4 1/2 marathons! A little RnR, whether planned or unplanned, is great! I am taking it easy this week, after my last 1/2 of the year last weekend. I might put in some slow miles later this week!
    Lindsey recently posted..Running PlaylistsMy Profile

  3. I totally agree that the danger zone is post- big race–that’s always been my weak spot, too. I was super careful this year in the weeks following my marathons. Good for you for tuning in and backing off at the right time. I’m guessing it will do the trick! Enjoy the downtime.
    misszippy recently posted..My podcast is live!My Profile

  4. That dang shin!!! Glad you are paying attention and nipping it in the bud. I’ve had times when I jumped back into things and paid the price. Now that I’m coming back to running, I’m making an effort to REALLY pay attention. A couple of weeks ago, my calf felt wicked tight so I backed off from running for 5 days until it felt better. Why risk another injury? Great reminder!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Frozen Yogurt Qi’a BitesMy Profile

  5. Ugh this is me! I’m currently injured because I just haaaaaaad to run one last half marathon this year. My PT thinks I’m insane, but he’s helping me get back to running – hopefully it will happen soon! And after this, I’m going to be more aware of my limits and stop pushing myself to do more than I can handle!
    Kristen recently posted..Whole Life Challenge Recap + Healthy TipsMy Profile

  6. OH yes, I absolutely know that line with my post tib tendon. The second I start feeling twinges I lay off. That’s what happened 2 weeks before MCM for me. I knew that my fitness wasn’t going to improve in 2 weeks so I was ok with resting it and that was totally the right call! It’s hard to make that adult decision to lay off, lol.
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted..Rock N Roll #Stripatnight Half Marathon Recap: An epic racecationMy Profile

  7. Pingback: Weekly recap and meal planning |

Comments are closed.