Completing a half marathon is an outstanding achievement. A lot of exercises are put into the preparations for the race, while what happens after the race may not get the focus it deserves.
To avoid injury, illness, and overtraining, recovery after a half marathon should be an essential part of any good half marathon training program. You should have a detailed plan for what to do in the first 2-3 weeks after the half marathon to recover as best as possible and avoid injuries.
What happens to the body after a half marathon
It does not matter if you have just run your first half marathon or the tenth – 26.2 miles is long, and it can be incredibly demanding for your body. One of the most prominent factors after a half marathon is the damage done to muscles and tendons. In addition to DOMS (delayed muscle soreness), which can last a few days, muscle injuries can last for several weeks after a half marathon due to the extreme effort to cover the distance. It can take several weeks for muscles to return to normal functioning strength.
Why do you need to rest after a half marathon?
Even if your body signals that it’s time to get back into exercise, you may still need recovery. Some runners may feel fine a few days after a half marathon, while others may feel weak for up to a week or two. Returning to hard training prematurely can lead to overtraining, which increases the risk of injury or illness. Before returning to regular running exercise, carefully consider the time you need for recovery to avoid injury.
Hard training involved in the months leading up to the race can also cause mental exhaustion. Although some runners may overcome this, burnout can often occur for even the most experienced runners. It is sometimes necessary to take a break from training after a big event to rebuild yourself mentally, and when you finally get back into training, it can have a positive effect, giving you exactly what you need to get energy. And motivation until the next big race.
What to do in the weeks after the half marathon
To recover properly after a half marathon, you need to stick to some proven principles.
Recovery runs after half marathon
Although a recovery run may sound like a good idea, running 1-2 days after a half marathon is usually not recommended. Concentrate instead on nutrition, sleep and take it easy until you are fully recovered. It will be a good time for more running later.
Reward yourself after a half marathon
Completing a half marathon requires a lot of hard work and discipline. After the race, you can reward yourself with a healthy meal. Try massage, cryotherapy, and whirlpool to relax and let your muscles recover after all the hard work.