Chicago, Atlantic City, Marine Core, ING Hartford, Philadelphia, and the Granddaddy of them all, the ING New York City Marathon… Some of the more popular fall marathon events in the northeast.
If youʼve run and completed one of these races, congratulations! Having run seven marathons myself, and considering signing up for my eighth, I understand how much preparation goes into an event of this magnitude. Some of you may you have trained all year for this marathon, or at the very least, the last four months.You shared your glory with your friends and family after the race….you walked around the next day or two with your marathon medal around your neck…you spent the next two or three weeks talking about how you could have run faster if you had only………But after about three weeks of that, itʼs time to move on.. NOW WHAT?
Recovery And Regeneration
Some of you will rest and recover, while others will sign up for another marathon, tri-athalon, or similar endurance event before the sweat dries. While setting a new goal for yourself is commendable, continually exposing your body to stresses of endurance training without the proper amount of recovery, may simply result in being disappointed with your performance results and bringing your body one step closer to orthopedic injury.
Running marathons is very stressful on the human body. Undoubtedly, it involves a deeper level of muscle and joint tissue healing and a more complete resetting of the endocrine and immune systems than that which occurs during your normal race and training cycle. Aside from just putting a strain on all of the muscles in your legs, arms and torso, marathons can also affect your lungs and many of your other internal organs.
An Austrian study found that blood levels of antioxidant enzymes remained significantly reduced, while biomarkers of muscle damage and inflammation remained significantly elevated, in triathletes nearly three weeks after they had crossed an Ironman finish line. I would imagine that such abnormalities could be found in runners for at least a couple of weeks after they complete a high-workload training cycle culminating in a peak event such as a marathon. Because of this, it’s important that you take some time off from running after completing a marathon. Marathon runners and marathon coaches often suggested different time frames that you should use when resting after a marathon before running again or running another marathon. The most common recommendation for resting after a marathon and running again is 2 to 4 weeks, before running another marathon, 16 to 20 weeks.
On April 13, 2008, Ryan Hall finished 5th in the London Marathon with a time of 2:06:17-the fastest marathon time ever recorded by an American- born runner. Just 14 weeks later Hall ran the Beijing Olympic Marathon, finishing a disappointing 10th.Top-10 in the Olympic Marathon is nothing to be ashamed of, but Hall knew he could have done better.
After the Games, Hall confessed that his pre-Olympic training had gone poorly. He just couldn’t match the times he was accustomed to posting in key workouts, and the more he fell short the more he tried to force his training, and the more he forced it the worse he felt. In the immediate aftermath of Beijing, Hall wasn’t sure exactly why he had not been his usual self in the summer of 2008, but eventually he figured it out. “Looking back on it,” he said in a recent interview on runnersworld.com, “I think I never let my body totally recover from London so I never made the physical gains that I needed to.”
Many years ago, when asked how long one should wait after running a marathon before running another one, the great Bill Rodgers said, “Until you’ve forgotten it.” Ryan Hall probably defied this wisdom!