Half Marathon Recovery – The Week After

My race was six days ago and I’m still a bit sore.

A runner I talk to on twitter said this is the difference between running and racing. No kidding! I’ve never experienced this level of soreness in any of my previous halfs, but I’ve never tried so hard.

  • Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon 10/23/11: My first one. Ran the whole course and walked through every water station, which was planned. Had a few urges to walk in the last couple miles but fought them off and finished in 2:14:17.81838-626-032f
  • Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon 10/21/12: I remember feeling so great around mile six and knew I was going to PR even though I wasn’t timing myself. But I never got to the “I’m going to puke stage” even though it was a fast run for me. I ran the whole thing, even running while getting water, and finished in 2:06:25.Smiling in Distance
  • Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 4/6/13: I had a cold and took some over the counter cold medicine the week of the race so I could sleep. Big mistake–I started the race feeling dehydrated even though I’d taken in a lot of liquids. I knew the race would be hard and I was right. Around mile 10 I hit the wall and my body decided to walk (it did not feel like my mind had a vote). I tried to start running again but I couldn’t stay running. Despite the walking I finished in 2:12:41, my second best time at that point. Note: I am smiling in this photo only because I saw the camera in the distance; prior to this I’d been walking and generally hating everything about the experience.48
  • Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon 10/27/13: I used the Go Half Marathon as motivation and made my body keep going far past the point it wanted to walk. Skipped some water stations and mostly ran through the rest. My official finish time is 1:59:34. I gained a few seconds on my unofficial time, yay!12

On Monday, the day after my race, every muscle of my legs felt sore. This is highly unusual for me. After my long runs this training cycle I generally didn’t have muscle soreness; I just had a feeling of total body exhaustion all day. The day after I’d be fine, even after my 12 mile run.

To combat the soreness that followed my race day jubilation I walked to my dentist Monday. I knew the movement would help with recovery and it allowed me to get acquainted with muscles I didn’t realize I used while running. (Step, ow, step, ow, step, ow.)

On Tuesday I felt even more sore. We have about ten steps leading up to our house and going up and down them felt like learning to walk again. My legs felt awkward and didn’t want to bend at all. I was very drunk robot going up and down stairs. That night I took a bath with Epsom salt and that made my muscles feel a lot better.

Wednesday I was still sore all over my legs but could tell it was going away.

By Thursday the only soreness I had was the left side of my right leg, which is the soreness I’ve been dealing with for the last few weeks. I still have it today. Walking doesn’t make it feel great so running is out for a while but I’m sure biking and other exercise will help in my recovery. I planned to begin activity next week but I’m feeling a little stir crazy (I haven’t rested this much in probably a year) so I may have to take the dogs on a walk this weekend.


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