Marathon recovery and not running

please don't run

Saw this sign in Japan. It seemed appropriate given my ongoing recovery…

The Geneva Marathon was over two weeks ago. I haven’t run a single step since. To be honest, I’m in rough shape. I got sick literally the day after the marathon and I’ve been sick ever since. Tonight, I did my first workout since the marathon (a 20km indoor cycle) and spent the following 20 minutes hacking up a lung and standing in line at Boots to beg a pharmacist to give me something stronger than the on-the-shelf cough syrups. (Side note: she delivered and I have the good stuff now!)

I have coughed so much over the last two weeks that my abdominals hurt. Maybe I’ll get a 6-pack?

Not running for two weeks was actually part of the plan. Most experts agree that taking some time off running post-marathon is not only good for you, but essential to your recovery and health. In fact, some experts suggest taking one day off for every mile run! That seems a bit excessive, but most people say that many runners do not respect their recovery and dive right back in to hard training before their body is ready.

Running was absolutely out of the question the week after the marathon. I was barely mobile, let alone ready to run. I recovered quickly though, and thought I could manage some cycling or swimming, but my cold side-lined me.

laying in bed eating candy

This was pretty much all I could manage the day after the marathon. Laying in bed eating a bag of candy.

The following Friday, we were off to Japan for a long-awaited holiday to Tokyo and Kyoto. I ambitiously packed my running gear thinking that a nice, easy jaunt around a Japanese garden might be nice. I never wore the shoes. In addition to my dry, hacking cough and stuffy nose, my knee was in rough shape. For short periods, it was fine to walk, but after a while, a dull pain began to emerge, until it was an excruciating pain that required rest…and sushi.

Stand-up sushi bar

This stand-up sushi bar was one of our fave places in Tokyo

And sometimes ramen… mmm…ramen.

Ramen street Tokyo

We did a lot of walking on our trip. Possibly 10K a day. I can’t be sure. I left my Nike watch at home. I was mad at it for letting me down in BOTH my races this year. And I didn’t want to deal with charging it each night.

On top of my sore knee and lingering cough, I also have one black toenail, and one that is going to fall off. Sorry. I know that is disgusting. I get black toenails all the time from running, but this marks the FIRST time in my running history that I will actually lose a toenail. While many runners view their lost toenails and mangled feet with pride, I actually had a bit of a meltdown about it. I was convinced my toe was rotting and that I might lose the whole thing. Not to mention, it’s sandal season!  Anyway, more on toenails in a future post (how exciting!)

Going from four months of serious training to total rest is very strange. I went from running a minimum of three times per week with at least two days of cross training to…nothing! It’s weird to wake up at 6:00 am and not rush out the door for some sort of workout. Instead, I spent the last ten days waking up late and enjoying a leisurely green tea in the garden.

While I may feel as if I did “nothing” the last week, I have learned that walking is in fact, an excellent post-marathon recovery exercise.

I’m on the path to full recovery now. I’ll ease back into training.  I don’t really have a choice. The London Triathlon is coming up in July and I haven’t ridden my bike since January!

If you want to see a few more pics from my trip to Japan, check out my Instagram @MirandaMac7


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