While studying exercise physiology in graduate school, I came up with this scientifically based marathon recovery plan. I use it after my marathons and have successfully used it with thousands of runners since creating it.
The key to marathon recovery is to run enough but not too much, to give the body time to heal but to hold onto your base fitness (the old “use it or lose it” idea) and to rest and recharge the mind so you are itching to get back to full training and your next goal. You’ll love having a plan that does all of this.
Across this 4-week plan, you’ll slowly, yet steadily return to full training but do it in a way that respects how the body heals itself after a marathon (Hint: Lack of soreness isn’t the best indicator of recovery) and how the mind needs a short break from serious training but then needs to get back into the running rhythm that you love. By following this plan, you’ll speed your recovery from the marathon and, importantly, hold onto your pre-marathon base fitness. You’ll then be ready to set your sights on your next big goal.
As with all my plans, I’ll provide the exact pace range for each run/workout (integrated from the McMillan Running Calculator) and will advance the paces as you progress through the training plan so you are always optimally challenged. I’m also making your plan really flexible so it can flow with your life. You can easily move runs around based on your life schedule and based on how you are feeling after the marathon. Once you complete this plan, you’ll be fully recovered, back to full training and ready to begin your next training cycle.