The marathon obviously is very tough on the body. Some of the negative effects of running that far are torn/injured muscle fibers, general fatigue, soreness and even your immune system can be compromised leading to illness. Proper recovery is key to allowing you to enter your next training cycle healthy.
While everyone is different it does generally take 3-4 weeks to fully recover from a marathon and the damage done. As with anything there are exceptions to the rule but the human body can only take so much and those that don’t allow proper recovery time will pay for it as time wears on.
Under the Lydiard Training Method there is a prescribed recovery cycle tailored to the runner of 4 weeks. It starts the day after with a 20-25-minute slow jog. During the course of the first week it includes jogging and one easy fartlek session. Over the 4 weeks the duration of the jog’s increase and in the 2nd week a series of strides are added in place of easy fartlek.
Here is example for a runner who just completed their full marathon and who trained 6 days a week. Picture 1 shows week 1 of recovery. You can see how the duration moves from 25 minutes to 35 minutes at weeks end. Picture 2 shows week 4 of recovery. Now the duration is up to 72 minutes jog and finishes the week with a 48-minute aerobic run (difference is pace, aerobic is faster).
Within each workout of course there is a duration and pace range outlined so the runner can adjust according to how they feel.
If the runner follows a consistent and gradual recovery plan, they will be ready, recharged and healthy to start their next training cycle. The best advice I can give you is don’t sit around in the days after your marathon. Get out, move, slowly, walk if necessary, better yet jog and gradually build back over 4 weeks.
For more information on the Lydiard Training Method stop by the store. Bob and Jen, Running Niche owners, are trained, certified Lydiard Method coaches and would enjoy talking with you about it. The next cycle will begin in late November for Spring 2020 goal races.