It's been 9 days since I ran the Napa Valley Marathon, and today is the first decent run I've had- 1 mile with Sumo, then a good pace for 7 miles, with a 1 mile cool-down. I felt pretty good hitting sub 7 minute miles coming back.
There is no secret to marathon recovery- rest. Unless you are a member of the marathon manics, there should be no rush to resume your training. In fact, the faster you try to come back, the more suseptible you'll be to injury or illness. The 1-2 weeks following a marathon should be reserved for nothing more than a little cross training and some light jogging if that. From personal experience, 6 days is about the average length of time that I stay away from running all together.
Recovery is an important time to continue your efforts to ward off illness. I came down with a cold just 2-3 days following the Seattle Marathon in November. Continue to take a good antioxidant supplement and wash your hands frequently.
I like to take time during this recovery to analyze what I did right and what I could do different in order to run better next time. I did plenty of long tempo runs and interval workouts, and as a result those 6:30 mile splits through 15 or so felt very comfortable.
What could I do to improve? A few longer runs. My longest workouts leading into this race were 2 hours give or take (not counting a 1 mile warm up). I think I might benefit from slowing down and going longer, like 20 miles every other weekend.
I am also going to give evening stretching more of a priority. I think it's clear that the older you get the more you need to stretch.
(c) Dave Elger, 2009, All rights reserved.