Take time off from running.
I absolutely love running and it is one of my favorite parts of the day. But after a marathon, I know that I need to take at least a full week off from any and all running to allow my body to really recover. After running the St. George Marathon a few weeks ago, my body felt fine just 2 days after the race. I wasn’t sore. I was tempted to lace up my shoes to go for a short run but I stopped myself. Even though I felt great, I didn’t want to get injured because I started running too soon after a fast (for me) 26.2 miles. Mentally it is really nice to take some time off so that you are fresh and ready to go again when your next training cycle begins.
Sleep, sleep, sleep.
We talk all about making sure to get enough sleep in the weeks leading up to the marathon, but what about after the big day? Your body does a lot of its recovering during those hours of slumber. Because I don’t run for a week or so (this time I waited 9 days), I make sure to turn the alarm clock off and just wake up when my little girl does. I also focus on getting into bed earlier. I have started to charge my phone on the other side of the room at night so I am not tempted to scroll through Instagram and Facebook for an hour before actually going to sleep.
Run without a GPS watch for about a month.
I love doing this because it allows my body to make all of the decisions, not the numbers on my GPS watch. I run according to feel, making sure to take it easy and avoid pushing myself to hit my same pre-marathon paces.
Trail run as much as possible.
After months of having a set schedule of training on the roads for your marathon, it is so fun to hit the trails. Running on the dirt is easier on our joints. What better time to go easy on our body than right after a marathon? Running on trails also forces me to slow down.
Take advantage of cross-training!
Running is my favorite form of exercise but I also love to take different fitness classes at the gym. After following a training plan for 16 weeks, I am stoked to try a few different workouts while I am easing back into running again. Spinning, yoga, weight lifting classes and a sports conditioning class are among my favorites. I also know that through strength training and other classes I am now taking, I will be starting my next training cycle with a little bit more muscle. That is always a good thing!