Recovery – How to know when to jump back in?

  • Creator
  • #52320

    Hi there,

    after my first marathon on March 14th I am thinking of how my body reacts and how long recovery should take – and what to not do.

    Here is a little list of workouts and their “feel” in the days between March 14th and now:
    0days: run, 46km, 5:30min/km, HR: 155, gave up due to muscle pain and dizzyness
    2days: run, 10km, 5:20min/km, HR: 153, felt okay
    3days: run, 15km, 5:45min/km, HR: 153, felt okay for 10k, but had to stop early due to dizzyness
    6days: run, 9km, 5:30min/km, HR: 164, felt HR above what I am used to…
    8days: run, 10km, 5:30min/km, HR: 153, felt okay

    My resting HR is certainly elevated in the last days, approx 10% above my average in the last 3 months. I sleep quite well (as usual), do not feel any pain anywhere etc.

    Now my questions:

    A) Can I just go about my running/cycling as usual, just being careful and stopping when my body tells me to?
    B) How to know when I can start to mix some intervals or higher intensity back in?

  • Moderator
    Thomas Summer, MD on #52323

    Hi Leon!

    Looks like you were running an ultra, not a marathon?! I’m sorry, that you didn’t finish.

    As I read this I remember how I felt after my first marathon;-) I gave myself 4 weeks to get back into normal training. I took the first week completely of from running. Only walking and aquajogging and easy (short) cycling. Then only short running sessions every other day to find my rhythm. Always listening to my body. That is also my experience with other athletes.
    I ran track and field and then road marathons. Was your race on the trails and a hilly course? I find it’s easier to recover muscle-wise from a trail race. But the overall fatigue stays for longer. That your resting HR is still elevated is a sign that your body is still under stress and busy with recovering. So allow the recovery to happen and don’t stress the body with additional training. I would recommend only short recovery sessions every other day. At least until resting HR is back to normal. Then extend the sessions and see how it feels. I would wait with higher intensity at least for 3-4 weeks after the race. The better you recover now, the easier it will be to progress with training. Do some core. Sleep as much as possible. Eat healthy. Get some sun…
    The good thing is, that with more experience you will bounce back much quicker. After some years of marathon running, I felt ready for training after only 1-2 weeks of recovery. …until you joke with your friends: “the older I get, the faster I was”

    hope that helps?!

    next time you’ll finish! And the better you recover now, the better you will finish;-)

    leon.munich on #52324

    Dear Thomas,

    thanks for this prompt reply.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be too worried about all of this but the podcasts you did on overtraining just got me thinking. Or is this just a normal response to the effort?

    Thomas Summer, MD on #52326

    You don’t get overtrained by just one big effort. But you have the risk of going in this direction if you start too early with the training. Unfortunately that’s a common response to an unsatisfying race.
    Your response to the effort is normal. It’s even a bit a surprise that you could run 10km “feeling ok” two days after. I remember a lot of races and big efforts, where I had to take the stairs backwards for some days afterwards;-)
    Take your time!

    leon.munich on #52331

    Thanks again, this is really helpful to get some outside (and very experienced) feedback/input.

    How can one assess whether going back to regular training is advisable?
    I suppose, one could think about an HR drift somewhere “safe”?

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