Returning To Training After A Big Race

There were a lot of big races this past weekend.  Ogden Marathon, Ogden Half Marathon, Las Vegas 10k Swim, St. George Olympic Tri, Portland Half Marathon, and any other event that you may have participated in.  Congrats to all our patients in all events this past weekend.  You worked hard this past weekend, make sure to enjoy the recovery as well. 

Whether you are pumped for your next race or just Within the first 24 hours after racing, your highest priorities in terms of recovery are initiating muscle repair, restocking muscle glycogen stores, and rehydrating. Call it phase one of post-race recovery. But what happens after the first 24 hours? Why, phase two of post-race recovery, of course, where the emphasis is on the return to training.

How quickly you return to normal training depends on the length of the race you’ve just completed, your fitness level, and when you plan to race next. If the race you’ve just completed is the last one in your current training cycle, you should feel no rush to return to normal training.  In fact, you’ll be better served in the long run if you allow your body and mind to rejuvenate through a brief period of inactivity followed by a period of informal, just-for-kicks workouts, perhaps featuring some alternative modes of exercise. That said, here are some general guidelines to consider when planning your return to training:

  • * After shorter races (up to 10K): You can do your next hard run within as few as three days, if you’re a high-mileage runner. Otherwise, wait about five days.
  • * After a 10-miler or half-marathon: Fitter runners can go long or fast again after four or five days. More casual runners should wait at least a full week.
  • * After a marathon: All runners wishing to maintain a high level of fitness should do little or no running for four to seven days, followed by a week of only low-intensity running. Then you can return to your normal regimen.

Cross-training is a great way to maintain fitness without slowing the recovery process in the first few days after a longer race.  Walking, swimming, cycling, and inline skating are all good choices, as long as you keep the intensity low.