Marathon Recovery

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but I thought I’d write down a few thoughts on what it was like getting back to full fitness after the Dublin Marathon last October. Maybe it might be of help to some first-timer in the future. Or maybe it might just serve as a reminder to myself what I’m getting myself in for if I do another one 🙂

  • Immediately after the marathon, I had a big bowl of pasta, plenty of fluids, got home, wrapped myself up in a duvet and fell asleep on the couch. Probably not the best idea, in terms of aiding recovery, but I didn’t feel like doing much else at the time.
  • That night, and the next day, my legs and hips were in a right auld state. Getting up and down the stairs was an ordeal, but less so if I went down backwards.
  • Suprisingly enough, the soreness and stiffness healed quite rapidly. A couple of days later, I was pretty happy going for a half-hour walk, apart for the odd wince from the pains in my hips.
  • Everything I had read before the race had said it would take three, four or even five weeks to fully recover.
  • Once the aches and pains started subsiding, I was sure I’d be 100% again after another week. That wasn’t to be, and the lingering problems were fairly subtle.
  • After about ten days or so, I went to the gym for the first time feeling great and started lashing into a weights session. Only ten minutes into it, though, and my energy had completely disappeared. That was to be a theme over the next few weeks … a complete lack of energy reserves.
  • It probably took five weeks before I did my first really solid hour of cardio work in the gym.
  • I tried my first run a couple of weeks after the race and went out with very low expectations. I even cycled to the seafront, rather than starting from the house. The first few hundred metres were complete agony with the bones in my feet screaming “no!” at me, and then after only a couple of km shin splints set in and I just gave up and strolled back to my bike.
  • A good four weeks after the marathon, I went to donate blood and was turned away for being a bit anemic, which never happened before. After that, I started taking some good multi-vitamins and that seemed to help sort me out.

Enough moaning. It wasn’t all that bad, really, but interesting to see just how much time it took.

Next time? I think I’d take the recovery aspect a bit more seriously, do research beforehand on and come up with a plan for immediately after, and for the weeks after. I’d imagine the slow recovery was largely down to me being totally naive about it and refusing to really put any effort into helping the process along.


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