Why you should take a break from running after the Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon Athletics
Runners wait to start the Philadelphia Marathon, Sunday Nov. 23, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Congrats Marathoners! You completed the Philadelphia Marathon.  What's next? Another marathon? A half marathon?

How about taking a much-needed break? Your body will thank you.

After training for 12-16 weeks, or upwards of 20 weeks for some, your body takes a beating.

Just think about all the pounding your body endures during training, whether it's short intervals or a long training run. Our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and almost every physiological system is challenged when running a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you set a personal record or struggled to walk/run to the finish. Even if you don’t feel sore after the race, your body endures tremendous physical duress during a 26.2-mile race.

Here’s what you should do in the days after the marathon:

In the days after the race, go for a recovery run or walk and treat yourself to a massage to speed recovery and reduce muscles soreness. Then reward yourself by taking at least a week off. After your week off, plan for only a few very easy miles.

Of course, this sounds easier said than done, right?

Don’t worry, taking time off to fully recover after a marathon will not negatively impact your endurance. In fact, research has proven that resting for 7-10 days will not significantly diminish fitness. And with a little rest, you will be in better shape for a future race and less prone to injury and overtraining.

But what will you do with a whole week off? I'm glad you asked!

You can delight in sleeping in on weekend mornings when you’d normally be logging early miles. You can also catch up with family and friends that you may have missed time with because of your training.

Enjoy your rest and recovery, marathoners. You deserve it and so does your body.

Dawn Angelique Roberts is a USATF Certified Running Coach training athletes in Philadelphia and around the country. Dawn is co-founder of Elite Access Running, LLC, a full service running company that specializes in coaching services, pace team coordination, race management, public relations, social media and runcations for athletes and organizations. Dawn serves as volunteer endurance coach for the American Cancer Society, DetermiNation program in Philadelphia.


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