With SO many races to choose from it is easy to overcommit and fill your year with event after event. Depending on your goals, doing so may not be ideal to your longevity as a high performing athlete. To some what I’m about so say might sound a bit counter intuitive. Others will agree 100% on the importance of taking time off between races or better yet being strategic with the events you program each season.
With that said, I wanted to take the opportunity to chat about post race recovery and the importance of taking some time off. One of the most common mistakes I see in the athletes I talk to is that they don’t take enough time to recovery between races.
I know it’s tempting to think that you can capitalize on your current fitness to compete in another event and think you will do better. Sadly, this is rarely the case for us non-pros. On the contrary… what often happens is an onset of fatigue, which can cause you to lose your form and result in injury. Not to say that you would not be able to finish another marathon a few weeks after your first, but it will not be to your potential and the risk of injury is just not worth another medal.
Take some time off, I’m sure your family has been missing you. Get some sleep, go enjoy the little things you sacrificed during your training cycle. By taking 3 to 4 weeks of “recovery” time you will come back stronger. They key however, is to have a recovery plan, which will maintain your fitness and gently roll you back into your normal training volume. These plans typically include a mixture of swimming, yoga, stretching, running specific strength training and light running. Leaving you energized, rested and ready to start working on quicker paces and focusing on your next PR.
Seeing how important proper recovery is, I put together a basic 4 week recovery guide. Click this link to download it – POST MARATHON RECOVERY GUIDE. Trust me on this, if you want to race to your potential in the next race.