Hello Runners & Turkey Trotters! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and PRd your Turkey Trot if you ran one! And, if you’re still recovering from last weekend’s marathon, half-marathon or 8k, I hope you’ve been able to relax and revel in your accomplishment! That’s me! I logged in 29.2 miles for the week, including 26.2 last Sunday and only 3+ miles this Saturday to ease my way back into a regular running schedule.
Otherwise, since the marathon, there’s been A LOT of sleep, eaten a bit (ok, A LOT) too much and even enjoyed a few (ok, A LOT) extra drinks while getting reacquainted with the couch….which is totally fine, as post-marathon our bodies and mind need a little break from several months of running 28-40 miles per week!
Even though the soreness has subsided thanks to some great sleep over the last week, I’ve resisted the temptation to dive right back into high mileage, as running a marathon does damage, albeit temporary damage, but it does take its toll on our bodies. Something about that 26.2 mile distance makes a lot more impact than the 20 milers you may have completed during your training…which begs the question, why aren’t there more 20 mile/10 mile races out there?)
With that, I still subscribe to the long-term benefits of running…even marathon running. However, there have been lots of studies on the short-term impact of marathon running and the consensus seems to be consistent that you’ve done some temporary muscle and cellular damage between your training and your race completion. In addition to the obvious muscular damage your reminded of every time you take stairs…. including millions of ‘micro-tears’ to your muscles, you’ve also done some Cellular damage, which is represented by measuring the presence and production of creatine kinase (aka CK= an enzyme found in the heart, brain, skeletal muscle, and other tissues. Increased amounts of CK are released into the blood when there is muscle damage.) in your blood, with studies (via Runners Connect) concluding that CK damage being represented in you your blood for more than 7 days post marathon. And, unlike muscle soreness, you can’t necessarily feel the symptoms of this damage.
In addition to muscular and CK damage, running the marathon distance depletes your immune system, which is another reason to spend a week or two getting good rest before you start challenging yourself again, while also washing your hands frequently! Historically, I’ve found that it’s always hard to lace up again after the flu (or even a cold).
So, the moral of the story…relax for 1-2-3-4 weeks and enjoy your accomplishment. You will lose some of the running fitness you’ve built up, but in the long-term, you’ll regain it easily and you’ll be more likely to stay healthy if allow yourself to recover properly.
Thanks for reading and running! As always, please tweet me (@Radio1045Johnny) with any additional comments or questions! Also, I’d like to display YOUR medal &/or medal collection in next week’s #RunWithRadio1045Johnny blog post. Please Tweet ‘em at me!