Conventional wisdom tells us runners to give our bodies a good, long rest after completing a marathon. How long should that be? I’ve read a blog written by a Fargo runner who tells of hitting the streets again three days after a marathon. Stacy, the Grand Poobah of Red River Runners, suggested that three days may not be enough time, especially for those of us who are not seasoned distance runners. Running for 26.2 miles definitely takes its toll on the human body, and a longer rest certainly seems in order.
When I completed the Fargo Marathon, I waited a week, until the next Saturday, to get in my first run. I did a little four mile jaunt around the Grand Forks Greenway and felt drained. I didn’t attempt any great speed, just a nice slow run, but still returned home tired with my leg muscles screaming for mercy. I didn’t attempt anything too much longer for over a month, and even then, I didn’t feel strong and fluid.
I’ve had this week off from work, and I’ve been aching to get out running again. I told myself that I would wait until Saturday for my first run, but my body wasn’t too happy with my brain’s decision. I compromised by going to the UND Wellness Center on Tuesday, and riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes. That worked the muscles a bit without stressing my 47 year old bones.
On Thursday, I returned to the Wellness Center, and got in my usual 40 minute bike ride, burning 500 calories in the process, cuing me that I was about back to normal. My heart rate was a little higher than usual, but I had just donated blood, so it seemed reasonable, due to me having less blood volume and total hemoglobin. I also did most of a core body workout, skipping only the weights for my lower back since I still had a few muscle aches lingering in that area.
This morning I knew I was ready to return to the trails, and planned on getting in at least a six mile run. I put on long pants due to the cool weather, laced up my Beast shoes, and felt the adrenaline start to kick in as I walked out the door. I was aching to run! I ran to the Greenway and felt great, so I let my body determine the pace, and I took off running much faster than at any point during the Bismarck Marathon. My muscles felt rested, my breathing was slow, and I felt ready to let loose! I got in a total of seven miles, averaging better than nine minutes each, and the final two were my fastest. I’m already anxious for the Fargo Marathon next May, and I know I can improve my time from these last two. Let the training begin!