Two Weeks Out: Musings on Marathon Recovery

So, it’s been two weeks since I ran my marathon.  My body is still gently protesting from the experience, but I’m largely recovered.  I’ve continued to think about my experience and recovery and have a few thoughts:

 

  1. Running a marathon is hard.  And fun:  Finishing my marathon was one of the hardest physical things I’ve done in a long time.  It wasn’t easy.  However, in the end, I think the experience was worth it.  In retrospect, if I add up the training, the marathon and the recovery, I really did have fun. 
  2. My marathon prep was fairly rushed.  I decided to run my marathon on a bit of a lark. I had just finished a half-marathon on Labor Day weekend when I decided to train.  I got an awesome coach (more on him in a later article) and we got to work.  I wasn’t in the best running shape.  My base wasn’t terribly strong and my core body strength wasn’t awesome when I started.  I still weigh too much.  Yet, somehow I managed to finish.  It wasn’t pretty, but I finished.  
  3. My marathon experience was pretty painful for four reasons. First, I had just finished a week of night shifts and I slept 4-5 hours per night for three nights prior to the run. Second, I got achilles tendonitis and ran very little (a total of around 6-8 miles) for the three weeks before the run.  Third, I was probably about 15 pounds over my ideal running weight.  Fourth, I’m still a relatively inexperienced runner with an okay, but not great base. Fix those issues and I’m confident my next marathon will be better.
  4. Recovery takes time. Be patient:  My achilles tendonitis came back in a pretty spectacular way after my marathon.  Honestly, it never really went away. I was quite sore the few days following.  I’ve managed to start running this week and the runs are actually helping me feel better.  However, I got a little ambitious thinking I could do a half-marathon two weeks after my marathon.  Perhaps if the issues in #3 had been addressed, I could have.  However, my wife and the rational part of my brain prevailed and I sat out a very cool half yesterday.  Perhaps next year.
  5. I’m trying to decide what marathon to do next.  I’m thinking the fall of 2016 is a good time.  New York?  Marine Corps Marathon?  Chicago?  San Antonio (again)?  Any thoughts out there?