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The Day After a Marathon

by Meghann on November 1, 2010

Fact: Honeycrisp Apples are my FAVORITE apples of all time.

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Sweet. Crispy. Juicy. And just a slight tartness to them. Love.

Fact: Pizza on Multi-Grain French Bread is Genius.

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Bread. Sauce. Cheese. Toast. Go.

So easy.

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Remember these?

Do they still make them? When I was younger my family would buy the Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza from bulk in Costco. Personally, I was never a fan of it. The sauce tasted funky and the frozen cheese on top scared me (I made the mistake of eating it pre-cooked once). My version is much tastier.

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With Asparagus. 🙂

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The Day After a Marathon

This past weekend Derek was registering for the Space Coast Half Marathon when he turned to me and goes, “The race is on a Sunday?”

“Umm… yeah. Most half marathon and marathon are.”

“Whoa. I am sooo taking that Monday off of work.”

I couldn’t help, but laugh. Not because I think he doesn’t deserve a day off (because he totally does!), but because it never occurs to me to take a post-marathon day off. I’ve run 4 marathons and 1 ultra-marathon and somehow I always manage to make plans the day following those races.

After my first marathon I flew cross country home. My second I was back at work the next morning. Just hours after finishing my third I drove the 2 hours home by myself  and was at work the next morning. And for Chicago I flew home the SAME DAY as the marathon and went shopping the next morning. Oh, and we can’t forget my ultra- marathon where I immediately drove three hours home by myself and celebrated Easter the following day with my family.

I actually repeated all of these facts to Derek and he called me a nut. Which, after hearing my tale aloud myself, I would have to agree. Nut job. Right here!

It’s not that I’m against taking the day after a marathon off and spending it at home – I actually HIGHLY recommend this to people – it just isn’t in the cards for me. My PTO is pretty slim at work right now (aka non-existent) and unfortunately my company does not separate sick days from vacation days (they all come from the same pot), so as much as I would love to say I will be taking that much needed day off of work following my marathon on Dec. 5, I just don’t see that happening.   Such a shame too.

Though good news is I’ve had relatively quick recoveries from the majority of my marathons (knock on wood) and if you were to ask me what the key to a quick recovery is, I would have to say ‘keep your legs moving.’ This could be walking, going for a relaxing bike ride, or even something as simple as going back and forth from the printer at work. In my experience it’s when you leave your legs be that the pain kicks in.

So, for those of you who are in the same predicament as me – where taking off work isn’t exactly an option – don’t worry! You will survive. I have and that fact has never stopped me from running another one.. or another one…. or another…

What are your thoughts on going to work the day after races? Do you call in sick? Plan a long walk? Stay in bed and eat your heart out? 😉

1 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I’ve never run a race, but I think your man has the right idea. Do you notice how men tend to be far more practical with stuff like that? Us women literally think we can do it all without rest or pause. :p

2 Kristy @ KristyRuns November 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I’ve taken a day off work after 6 of my 7 marathons. The Monday I didn’t take off? TODAY!!!! I ran the Spinx Marathon on Saturday, and without thinking about it weeks ago, scheduled a DRILLING job today! At least I’ve been on my feet most of the day! 🙂
Kristy @ KristyRuns recently posted..Spinx Marathon

3 JunieB November 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I ALWAYS take the day off after, sometimes 2. If its far away out of town marathon like NYC or Chicago, I take 3 days off :O) I like to stay an extra day in the city, then travel one day…rest 1 more 🙂

for houston (hometown) its usually the Sunday before MLK day which is typically observed at a lot of jobs (like mine) so automatically get that day off so i take another one just because. this year it is pushed back so no automatic off. I WILL be taking that Monday off.

i usually sight see like crazy the next day or if at home, then yeah i’m staying inside on the couch :O)

Dont eat a lot for a few days…never have.

4 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

After my first marathon, I still went to class as usual (I was still in university at the time). My legs weren’t even that sore – hungry, yes, I could not get enough food. But in terms of exercise, I did some light cycling in the morning on a stationary bike just to keep the blood flowing, and lots of stretching.
PS – LOVE that you went shopping after your Chicago marathon!! I’d so do the same! 😀
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..Friday fun

5 Jess November 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Ran my first marathon last month and took the day off after. I wasn’t really sore (even before my massage), but just REALLY tired and foggy. There would have been no point in going to work – wouldn’t have gotten anything done!

6 Britt @ Runnerbelle November 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I’ve only taken the day off after a marathon when I plan my travel home that day or am making a vacation out of it. So after NYC and Marine Corps I flew home on Monday…. Disney I stuck around till Tuesday (although that was also due to a snowstorm at home, my flight was cancelled).

But I lives near Boston and have always worked the Tuesday after the marathon. I think my co-workers would be disappointed if I took the Tuesday off after anyways…. they are so anxious to talk about the race with me!

I just make sure to get up and walk around the office every half hour or so…..
Britt @ Runnerbelle recently posted..Neon &amp orange zest…

7 Theodora November 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I ended up having the day after Chicago off since it was Columbus Day, but I think it would all depend on my vacation day situation, much like you. If I had a ton left, I’d definitely take the day off. If my days were relatively numbered, I’d probably try to make it through the day or work from home. I was definitely sore the day after Chicago, but not too sore or tired to go to work!
Theodora recently posted..Best Dinner EVER- Coconut Curry Chicken!

8 Kelly November 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Haha you are a nut. I came in the day after my 10 mile race, but my stomach was hurting so bad that I ended up going home.
Kelly recently posted..Have Mercy

9 kathleen November 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

i’ve often wondered why more marathons aren’t on saturday rather than sunday. perhaps it’s a blocking off major road issue?
kathleen recently posted..Butternut squash- collard green and red lentil stew

10 Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! November 1, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Great question…and I love Derek’s reaction! I felt awesome the day after my first half marathon a few weeks ago. My legs felt a tiny bit sore, but I went rock climbing the day after the race and ran 3 miles two days later and they were back to normal. I definitely appreciate a good stretch after a race, and I think getting the blood flowing in my legs–whether it be through climbing, walking, or jogging–is really important.
Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! recently posted..Autumn dreaming

11 Becky November 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I think it’s important to take care of our bodies and not perceive ourselves to be superheroes. It’s wonderful that you have had quick and easy recoveries from your marathons thus far, but you (like EVERYONE) are not invincible. Take care of yourself!

12 Meghann November 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I 100% agree! But I think the key to a great recovery is to keep the blood flowing after a marathon. My ideal recovery day would be sleeping in, going for a nice walk with Maddie, a picnic, afternoon movie on the couch, and taking my time making a fabulous meal. 🙂

13 Karen November 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm

For me, my first marathon was the worst in terms of soreness but the second was nothing. I probably wouldn’t take a day off unless it was to travel home across country. I have played tennis matches (our team plays on Sundays) after more than a few half marathons. I guess it is just a matter of what level of endurance your body can handle.
Karen recently posted..Views from a run

14 Meghann November 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

That’s runny. My second marathon was the worst as far as soreness. And you’re right, it totally matter on what level of endurance your body can handle. 🙂

15 katie November 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

the shopping instead of working sounds like a great after marathon treat!
katie recently posted..MapMyRun – First Training Run 3miles or so i thought

16 Amanda November 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Take a day off! Rest those muscles! I work from home so I can pick my own hours but even if I didn’t I would not work the day after a marathon.
Either way, Good job for rocking all those miles!!!

17 Rae November 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Nope, I dont. I figure I like to play on my days off and if Im going to be sore, I may as well be at work!

ONE exception….I took the day off after my ironman. I couldnt even get out of bed…lol.

18 Janae @hungryrunnergirl.com November 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I have only run marathons on Saturday so on Sunday I take the entire day off from anything besides short walks! I love just lounging around still on my marathon high:) I go back to work on Monday and teach which is super exhausting but I love it!! Good for you to go to work the next day… you are hard core!!
Janae @hungryrunnergirl.com recently posted..Last Meal

19 Alina (Duty Free Foodie) November 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I am thinking marathons should be on Saturdays! It’s a major undertaking and you will probably be in pain the next day (and want to keep celebrating)… so I don’t see how you could NOT want to take a day off.
Alina (Duty Free Foodie) recently posted..Pumpkin Pie with Enlightenment Spice

20 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday November 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Nothing better than re-fueling post marathon with an Easter feast!
Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday recently posted..World Vegan Day

21 Karen @ Not Just Celery November 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I agree with your tips about keeping your legs moving the day after a long race! I’ve never done a full marathon (yet!) but after my half this year I took the next day off from work and went to yoga, got a pedicure, and took a 60 minute walk around NYC doing some errands. It was better than sitting at my desk all day and I had no pain!

If you can’t take a day off work I would say to start off the morning with some stretching/yoga at home and be sure to get up from your desk throughout the day to take some short walks.
Karen @ Not Just Celery recently posted..Work it Out

22 Anna S. @ History Running Girl November 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I work Tuesday-Saturday, so I luck out and already have Mondays off! IT has been working out well.
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23 Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances November 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I wish I could have taken the day off after my full marathon this year but I really felt pretty good! Plus I got to gloat about it all day 😉 It was the day of that made me feel like I needed about 12 hours of sleep. Derek’s last half was super late at night – if I was running that late you’d better believe I wouldn’t be in that morning!
Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances recently posted..Not That Simple

24 Shanna, Like Banana November 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I think my immediate inclination would be to take the day off, but I agree that if you don’t keep moving you’ll end up feeling far worse off even the days to follow!
Shanna, Like Banana recently posted..Halloween Part Uno

25 Tabitha (From Single to Married) November 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I’ve never run a marathon but I did walk 20 miles in one day for a breast cancer race a couple of years ago. I was so exhausted the next day I could barely move. Plus my blisters made it hard to walk. 🙂 Granted, I wasn’t in as good shape as you are!
Tabitha (From Single to Married) recently posted..Shopping with or without Dignity

26 RunningOnCoffee November 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I don’t tend to take days off from work… haha

My first half marathon in April was on a Saturday morning. Smallish event (only 500 runners), so I found parking 1/2 mile away from start and finish. Wasn’t interested in the spaghetti dinner being served at 10:30am, hopped in my car and drove an hour home. I remember my quads were a little sore for a couple days after; but I wore flats to work and went to spinning that Monday night; I waited til Thursday to do my first run (3 miles).

My second half marathon in Sept. was on a Sunday; it was in Philly, I parked .85 miles from the starting line (close enough, I wasn’t going to deal with road closings and people all over the roads to find a better lot, and I don’t think I was going to find a cheaper parking lot!) The walk was my warm up. From finish line to my car was about 1.1 mi, which is fine with me because I wanted to keep moving and get the blood redirected to the rest of my body again! After picking up a drink at Starbucks, I drove 1 hour home. I worked Monday morning, quads were just a little sore, no biggy – I wore flats. I gave myself til Thursday before running again.
RunningOnCoffee recently posted..Recipe- Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

27 RunningOnCoffee November 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

PS, I agree you gotta keep moving! If you do nothing, it’s going to hurt more. Active recovery! Same goes when I get a shot — I make sure to move my arm around a lot (I’ll even intentionally use my handweights) and find that it doesn’t hurt (compared with not using the arm = sore).
RunningOnCoffee recently posted..Recipe- Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

28 Hope November 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm

wow, you are a complete machine girl!! I don’t run, so you amaze me 🙂
Hope recently posted..Muffin Top

29 Balanced Healthy Life November 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I totally agree with taking a day off after a hard race! You train hard and deserve to relax for a reward! : )

30 Lisa November 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I always take the day off after a race to recoup. Even for races that I didn’t really run very far, I wanted to enjoy my time the day after…be lazy, go swimming, watch movies, sleep in. 🙂
Lisa recently posted..Zombies Invade Portland!

31 ida November 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I think it’s fine to go to work the day after, esp if all you do is sit at a desk. Just take lots of walk breaks and stretch from time to time. Working from home that day would be ideal i think. Still get paid, and can wear pj’s!

32 Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I rarely take the next day off after a race – however I am pretty sure that I will take the Monday off after the half ironman I have coming up!!!
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..“S” is for…

33 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) November 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I think it should depend on how you feel; if you feel like you would collapse or be in serious pain or something, then a day off would definitely be needed!
But I have serious admirati0n for your post-marathon working- espeicially the ultra! I have no idea how you managed that!! I’m in awe! 😀
Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) recently posted..Baking mad!

34 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 1, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I skipped class the day after my last half-marathon (and incidentally ran into my teacher that afternoon). It actually wasn’t leg pain or soreness that did me in- it was freezing cold and pouring the entire race, so I got hypothermic and came down with a horrible cold and headache the next day!
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35 Maureen November 1, 2010 at 6:03 pm

I ran the More Magazine Woman’s Half Marathon in Central Park last April, and it was pouring down rain during the race, and I ended up getting sick and still went into work. I did the Rock and Roll full marathon in San Diego in June and the next day, although I was really sore and in pain from a knee injury I had going into the race, my friends and I still dragged ourselves around the city to sight see. We were all limping and in rough shape though… our battle scars definitely showed!!
Maureen recently posted..A pumpkin breakfast!

36 Amy K. @ Onehealthypeanut November 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm

After I ran the Chicago marathon, my parents picked me up at the finish line. Drove me to the airport (I changed out of my marathon clothes in the airport bathroom) jumped on the plane within 2 hours of finishing. Flew to Atlanta where I jumped in the car and drove the 2 hours back to Auburn, AL where I was in school. All so I could make it to class the next day. Looking back I can’t remember why (or how!) I did all of this 🙂
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37 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather November 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I’ve never ran a marathon before but the day after each of my half marathons I take the monday off from work. I plan it in advance and enjoy my lazy girl time. That’s what I’m planning to do come January again!
Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather recently posted..Wednesdays Weekly Workout MiniChallenge: Squats

38 natalie @ http://healthybalancingact.blogspot.com/ November 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm

good point about keeping on your feet after the race, i have always gone back to bed and suffered horrible muscle sorness, ill be trying that next time
natalie @ http://healthybalancingact.blogspot.com/ recently posted..jam backed dayand the jitters

39 Heather November 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm

3 of the 4 halfs I have run were on saturdays so I was ok, and my one sunday one I did have to go to work b/c I was a teacher with TWO count them TWO personal days, and like 5 sick days so a total of 7 all year, so I sucked it up and went to work!
Heather recently posted..Jazz Half Marathon Race Recap Part 2

40 jane November 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Hi! love the blog. this is random, but i was hoping to do the PB marathon (since i live here in palm beach) but just started law school and just dont have the time to commit to it-hopefully next year!! i think you said you are doing it with someone who lives around here, but if you need any fun places to eat post race i would be happy to make some suggestions! good luck

41 jenna November 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I may be crazy and didn’t realize it until a week or so after I did this. After the Chicago Marathon, I went to boot camp the next day at 5:30am. I went again on Tuesday and then proceeded to run 5 miles Wednesday. Did I mention Chicago was my first marathon? Honestly I think getting out there and moving was much better for me than just lounging around all day. I was sore but honestly noticed my arms being much worse from boot camp than feeling my legs from the marathon. I might not be as extreme after the next marathon, but I will definitely keep moving.

42 Lauren November 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I say any reason to take off work is a good one! 😉 LoL, Even for the pure reason of celebrating his victory, I say Derek earned it. 😉
Lauren recently posted..Keeping Traditions Alive

43 MyThy as in "Mighty" November 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I wish I could take Monday’s off! I ran my first marathon 10/17/10 and was back to work @ 7am 2 days straight doing 12 hr shifts in the ER. As an RN, we don’t EVER sit in the ER (well you could…but it’s only for 5 mins to give report & we have high acuity patients)!!! My hips were so incredibly sore and to think 2 days before I did 2 x 12 hr shifts and 5 days before that came back from Cabo San Lucas, MX!

All the other 10k’s & half marathon’s I’ve worked the next day and it’s no big deal. 18 miles is my max before feeling the soreness/stiffness. It just feel better if I keep moving.
MyThy as in “Mighty” recently posted..an6el177- 7 mi done even w- this Cali heat wave! Pumpkin yogurt or pumpkin pancakes Hmmits my day off- I think Pumpkin Pancakes!!!

44 Alice November 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm

It’s never occurred to me to take the next day off following a race! I’m not sure why. Races are always (always, always) on a Sunday here, no matter what the distance.

45 Lacey @ Lake Life November 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Your pizza looks delish!!

My PTO is all mixed together too- I hate it! I had to take 2 sick days last week and was thinking “aww man, there’s a lot of holidays coming up.” 🙁
Lacey @ Lake Life recently posted..Halloween comfort food

46 Megan November 2, 2010 at 2:38 am

I’m an RN and we self schedule in my unit, so it’s easy to schedule my days to work around events in my life (only have to work 3 shifts/week). I know I didn’t work after my two half-mary’s but couldn’t tell you what I did. Am doing a full in April about 8 hours away so I’ll probably spend the day after in the car. Not ideal, but my kindergartener will have to get to school on Monday! (Marathon is on a Saturday, actually).

47 Sarah W. November 2, 2010 at 8:14 am

My friend just ran the Marine Corp marathon on Sunday and called out of work yesterday because the stairs were problematic 😉 hehe. she also deserved a much needed day off

48 Paige @ Two Runners And A Brown Dog November 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I always take the day off after a marathon. I am a teacher; and I feel like I need a day of recovery before I can stand on my feet all day and deal with the day to day ups and downs of teenage drama. That one day “buffer” zone helps me tremendously!
Paige @ Two Runners And A Brown Dog recently posted..I’ve Got a New Attitude

49 Caroline November 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

My husband and I spent the afternoon of the Princess half marathon (my first of such distance!) wandering Universal. No soreness. Definitely a fan of staying active!

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