How NOT to recover from a half marathon

After running the Bear Chase Half Marathon on October 3, I was psyched. I had so much fun running that race, and I couldn’t wait to run more races.

Don’t get confused: I was excited to run more races, but I was ready for a short break from running. I knew I should take my training runs easy for about a week or so.

I knew that. But did I do it? Nope.

Since it’s Blame Others Awareness Week, I’m going to go ahead and blame my running partner, Maria.

Immediately after our race, as we were getting off the race shuttle and heading to our cars she said, “Are you going to run on Tuesday?”
“Uh….I don’t know. I think I might need to recover.” I replied.
“Yeah, but you have Monday to do that.” She said. Now, let’s recap: Maria had run a half marathon about a month before, and then just kept on training like it was going out of style (she’s the one who thinks that runs with steep, hilly climbs of 2 miles or more are “fun” and that if you get tired it’s “all mental”.) In fact, the week after her half marathon, she tried to convince me to do a 10.2 mile technical loop with steep inclines and an elevation change of 1,500 feet. I said I was going to run 12 relatively flat miles instead that weekend and she said, “Great. I can use that as my recovery run.” WTF? Long story short, Maria’s body kind of pooped out on her after that first half marathon, so she still wasn’t 100% for the half she ran with me.

“Didn’t you learn ANYTHING?!” I exclaimed. But eventually, she convinced me it would be fine and I said we could do a short, easy run. Maria promised to look in one of her many books for an “easy” [read moderately challenging] trail run.

She sent me three options and honestly I just picked the one that was closest to my house.

Was it easy? Oh, sure if you like running at a moderately steep grade for the first 2+ miles of the run. Was it pretty? See for yourself:

My legs felt tired, but (and here is the part where I accept part of the blame) when Maria wanted to turn around early, I said, “Oh…let’s just finish 4 miles.”

Since it was our first time on the loop and we didn’t know how long it was, it ended up being more like 5.

But, whatever. During the run, Maria said, “We’re getting in such good shape!” And I said, “Or we’re killing ourselves. But it’s one of the two!”

Later that week, I decided to look up some tips for recovering from a marathon or half marathon. The tips went something like this:

  • Don’t run for at least 3 days after your race. [Fail]
  • If you must run, at least don’t do anything strenuous that will raise your heart rate above xyz. [Fail]
  • If you must run, don’t run uphill. First because it will raise your heart rate. Second because the downhill will be bad on your already stressed joints and muscles. [Fail]
  • The short-term benefits of running at this time do not outweigh the long-term benefits of taking it easy for a week or so. [Super big time fail]


Still, I felt OK and went to running group Thursday where we ran a beautiful, flat, quick 3 miles. Maria didn’t like it (too flat and short), but I felt like it was exactly what I needed. I felt energized and wonderful.

Then I ran 8 miles on Saturday and that’s when the pain set in. I still played soccer on Sunday, though, because I’m a team player (just ask my teammates.)

I went to the doctor this week, got an x-ray, and it turns out I only have tendonitis. I’ll need to rest for a couple of weeks, which is frustrating but do-able. I’ll hopefully still get to run my races, even though I won’t have the benefit of training hard for them before hand.

The point, my friends, is this: Respect your body so it can do the things you want it to do.

The other point, my friends, is this: I blame Maria. And you should find someone in your life to blame, too.


About juliemcg

Marketing, writing, editing, traveling, social media-ing woman from Colorado.
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2 Responses to How NOT to recover from a half marathon

  1. Lauren says:

    Bummer!!!! I’m glad all you need to do is rest and it’s nothing more serious!!!

  2. Yum Yucky says:

    Dammit! I still totally blame Maria, because she started it. How’s that saying go? “It’s not who finishes the trouble, it’s who starts it.” Right? WTF, Maria!

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