Hal Higdon: Marathon Recovery--Novice

Average Weekly Training Hours 02:57
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 02:57
Training Load By Week

Higdon: Marathon Recovery--Novice: Recovery after a marathon should begin almost the minute you exit the finish chute. This 5-week post-marathon training program is designed to help Novice runners heal your wounds and recover as rapidly as possible so you can move on to new goals. Each day I will send you an email telling you what to run and offering training tips. For more information, visit my website: halhigdon.com.

Sample Day 4
0:20:00
2mi

Okay, you’re cleared to run again, but don’t overdo it. The Thursday workout for Novice runners the week before the marathon was 2 miles of gentle jogging. That sounds about right for the first week after too.

Sample Day 6
0:30:00
3mi

By now, most of the muscle soreness should be gone. You’re probably ready to resume your regular training routine, but don’t rush things. Stick with the 2- to 3-mile routine today. Or maybe take today off entirely.

Sample Day 7
1:00:00
6mi

Quite often marathoners who did their long runs together in the months leading up to a marathon like to get together to rehash how they did. So call your friends and schedule a run of about an hour, 6 to 8 miles max. But don’t get competitive and push the pace too hard.

Sample Day 9
0:20:00
2mi

As was the case during the 18-week marathon training program, Tuesday is a day when Novice runners do an easy workout. Although, having finished a marathon, you may no longer consider yourself a novice, we are still in post-marathon mode. No particular set pace; just go out and run.

Sample Day 10
0:40:00
4mi

Four miles easy. This is a mirror image of the training you did the final (taper) week before the marathon. If 4 miles seems like too much today (considering the fact that you are still in your post-marathon mode), break the workout in the middle with a brief walk. On many of my easy days when I do this distance, I run 2 miles out, stop to walk a few minutes and turn around, then run the 2 miles back. Invariably, the brief break allows me to return at a slightly faster pace than I hit going out.

Sample Day 11
0:20:00
2mi

Two miles of gentle jogging--barely enough to work up a sweat. Are you paying attention to your diet? No need to focus totally on carbo-loading, but the diet that worked best for you going into the marathon also works best for you coming out. You need to replenish the glycogen you burned while running 26 miles 385 yards. Studies show that some runners take as much as two to three weeks before they've fully replenished their muscles. So remember the staples: pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, fruits. You may need to also pay attention to calories, since your mileage remains relatively low compared to what it was three weeks before the marathon.

Sample Day 13
0:30:00
3mi

A run of 30 to 60 minutes. Piece of cake, you say. After all, only a month ago, you banged out a 20-miler. But in your post-marathon mode, a run an hour long can still tax you. So don't pay that much attention to your watch except for when to start and finish. I don't care how far you run. I don't care how fast you run. I don't even care whether or not you run the entire 30 to 60 minutes! Walk if you feel like doing it.

Hal Higdon
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Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).