Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fact or Fiction?

October seems to be the month of marathons and once the race is finished that means taking some rest days. I have never run a marathon and live vicariously through every other blogger that trains and runs marathons. So after you finish those grueling 26.2 miles, how many days do you take off?

After I ran my first 15k race in the summer of 2005, a friend told me that I should take off the same number of days that I had just raced. That seemed like a bit much and it always perplexed me where that philosophy had come from.

So I did some researching online and found this on Hal Higdon's website:

Generally, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to recover from the strain of running 26 miles 385 yards. Return too quickly and you increase your risk of injury. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing!


Has anyone else heard of this idea of resting a day for every mile raced? How many days do you rest after a race?

27 comments:

Jon (was) in Michigan said...

My recovery plan for the marathon is Hal's post-marathon plan. Its 5 weeks long and brings you back up gradually. I get three days of complete rest after the marathon, and if the race is on Saturday, then I get one more extra. No running until Wednesday. :)

Bethany + Ryan said...

i've heard the 26 day rule before and here's what i think:
i think it depends on the individual and their level of fitness/endurance and experience. If someone goes from couch to marathon, yes, it's probably smart to take weeks off after wards. If someone is running their 30th marathon, they may not even feel it the next day(eventho there could still be damage).
Some people feel really run down and beat up after a marathon and really push their bodies and others feel fine and think running 26 miles isn't that far. After my marathon on Sunday i'll probably take 3 days completely off and then i start running again but nothing hard or fast for at least a week 2, but i'm also running a 50 miler 3 weeks later. I typically take it easy for 2 weeks after a marathon IF i race it. If i just run with friends then to me it's just a training run and i'll take it easy for a couple days. There is NO comparison to how i feel now after a marathon (i've run that distance well over 20 times) to how i used to feel when i first started running marathons. It just doesn't take a toll like it once did.
Each time i run a marathon it gets easier and the recover time is less. i can't say how many days i will take off bc it depends how i feel, and i think going by how you feel is the best thing!
I have never taken off more than a week form running since i started running at age 12. Taking 26 days off sounds absurd to me, BUT if someone needs it, THEN TAKE IT! take 2 months off if need be!! gotta listen to your body. Reports on this subject make it out like running is work/punishment/torture and we should be happy to have a 26 days off. If people are running marathons it's bc they love running(or else they shouldn't do one) so as soon as everything is back to normal, we're going to want to start running again asap!

good post, i'm interested in seeing what other people have to say. thanks!

sorry for the novel! :-)

Marlene said...

I have heard/read that it takes one full day to recover from every mile raced... but that's not to say you need to take that many days off, it just means you will not be performing at 100% again until that time. I think it seems reasonable.

With that in mind, I usually try to stick to about a month of easy, no pressure running after a marathon. It's just as important for the MENTAL break from hard training. I haven't decided what I'll do yet after my marathon this Sunday (eeeek) but I will definitely be spending a few days on the couch. ;)

Molly said...

people kept telling me I needed to rest for 26 days, and I thought they were kidding! I went 8 days before I ran again, kept it up for two weeks....and you know the rest.

Aneta said...

that is good advice. I plan on taking a full week of absolute rest and then slowly bring in slow running and yoga and other forms of exercice.
and it will prolly take me about 26 days to be back and working out good and hard.

good advice!

Lacey Nicole said...

well i think everyone is different. i tend to go by feel both physically and mentally. i will probably be interested in cross training more quickly than i will be interested in running, just b/c hard effort running very soon after a hard effort race is tough. but i think it varies considerably from person to person and even for the same person from race to race. i also think SOME activity is a great recovery/ shake out.

Her Name is Rio said...

I've read and heard the same advice. I usually take a 2 - 5 days off before I resume running very short distances very slowly. However, I usually don't feel at my baseline rested/fitness level until 2-3 weeks after the marathon.

Kim said...

I definitely believe in the 26 day rule, but it doesn't mean don't run. It means to take it easy and gentle for several weeks and definitely don't race. I usually take 6-10 days off from running after running a marathon all out. I tried to run just 4 days after my last marathon and had to walk home!

Nicole said...

i have heard this before... and i have thought long and hard about it. that said, ive only ever not ran for a week after a marathon... any longer than that, and i wouldnt be a happy lady.

however after this marathon, i have intentions of taking more time off and doing other sorts of exercise!

marathonmaiden said...

i think i'm in the minority because for my first marathon i was running (albeit SLOWLY and there was walking involved too) the next day and after boston (my second) i was xt-ing for 5 days then ran on the 6th (because of my awful shin splits) i don't really think i'm the best role model though for recovery!

Julie @ "Hotlegs Runner" said...

I actually try to run or walk a short distance a day after a long run/race. It helps with the soreness.

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Amy said...

Hrm, here I was thinking I'd try a little walk/run today after my marathon on Sunday! I feel like I need to move my legs a bit and get a good stretch in, but I'll definitely be going out slow and easy!

Paul said...

I don't run for about week, by the end of two weeks I feel back to normal but still don't do any fast running for another week.

Of course all of this is null and void if you don't run all-out in your marathon..then you can get back to business sooner.

Sassy Molassy said...

It depends on how I'm feeling, but usually I take about a week off from running. That first week after the marathon though, I am still doing cycling, swimming and easy stuff at the gym just to keep the legs moving and get my sweat on.

Brian said...

I generally take a week off of running. The first day after the marathon is complete rest. Day 2 is typically 30 mins easy on a stationary bike, followed by another day of complete rest and then easy stationary bike for the rest of the week. In the second week, I throw in short, easy runs every other day with some cross training if I'm motivated. If I'm not motivated, I sleep in.

After 2 weeks, I lengthen the easy runs, but usually don't do any speedwork for at least 3 weeks post marathon.

Most of the time, I'm more mentally drained than anything and I don't have a huge desire to go back to hard workouts after 18 weeks of structured speedwork and long runs. It's nice to use that time to just enjoy the scenery or stay in bed depending on how my mood strikes me.

Jenn said...

I'm thinking I maybe agree with the 26 days without "hard" running but I could never take 26 days off to recover and feel like it was doing me any good. Took 2 days off after my first marathon and 3 days off after my second. I was also properly trained for both marathons. On the flip side, I am recovering from a femoral neck stress fracture I got 5 weeks after Boston....too much too soon, perhaps. In the future, I think I will begin running shortly after the marathon but spend a good month just enjoying unstructured easy runs. Interesting to read the comments.

Running Librarian said...

I have heard the take a day for every mile ran. I would say listen to your body. I would definately take the week off and then if you want to run some 3 miles here and there go ahead..I wouldn't go out and run 15 miles right after a marathon though ;)

Listen to your body and enjoy the 26.2 miles.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am not quite sure what my post- marathon plan of attack is... I might follow Hal's schedule to some extent... I def want to focus on cross training and I will throw in some 'easy' runs here and there. But not more than 3-5 miles...

racing dawn said...

You definitely struck a cord here with everyone! After a marathon I usually got out for an easy run, 4-5 miles, the Wednesday after and then judge from there. Right now I'm running a marathon a month and for the most part feeling pretty good. Just have to work with what your body can handle! No one plan works for everyone. :)

Jamie said...

I usually take between 4-6 days of complete rest. It definitely depends on how I'm feeling. Then it's light/easy running for a few weeks as I build back up.

onelittletrigirl said...

I think it depends on the person. I never take a day off after a 5k. All other distances, I take one day...except a half, in which case I take 2-3. But even all of that is subjective depending on how I feel.

onelittletrigirl said...

I think it depends on the person. I never take a day off after a 5k. All other distances, I take one day...except a half, in which case I take 2-3. But even all of that is subjective depending on how I feel.

misszippy said...

I'm a believer. I feel like the most vulnerable time for injury is in that month after a marathon. And...it can be so deceiving...you think you're recovered but you're really not. Take it easy for these few weeks--your body will thank you!

kilax said...

I've heard that same thing! But, I've already run since the marathon Sunday. 3 miles today. (And cross on Tues/Wed) I felt like my body was ready. I won't be racing hard, of course.

Melanie said...

I think this is one of those things where it just comes down to listening to your body. I can't fathom 26 days with no running. I typically take off one solid week after a marathon - no workouts of any kind. But then I start running again, just taking it easy and not doing too much too soon.

Melanie said...

I think this is one of those things where it just comes down to listening to your body. I can't fathom 26 days with no running. I typically take off one solid week after a marathon - no workouts of any kind. But then I start running again, just taking it easy and not doing too much too soon.

Chelsea said...

That seems like a lot to me. I've gone by the "I'll run once I feel like running again" rule. The first few days after a marathon I didn't even want to think about running, but eventually I came around to it and felt pretty good doing some slow and easy miles.