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Post-Race Recovery Tips & Guidelines!

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Most runners want to train to the best of their ability from 1 cycle to the next,

whether we are chasing a new PR or simply want to cross the finish line without having stepped foot in the pain cave.

That is why we suggest athletes take the weeks following their goal race as seriously as they take the weeks leading up to it. So, what does that really mean?

Neglecting recovery can put an athlete at risk of injury, and potentially compromise their immune system. However, as runners we work hard, and want to maintain the fitness we've spent months cultivating.

When we hear the word "recovery" we often assume this means "sedentary" and in this scenario that is not the case.

Where maximum effort is given, we absolutely DO want athletes to take some time for true rest, but sedentary rest is a minor piece of a smart recovery plan.

How do we recover properly while maintaining our fitness gains?

Guidelines for Time off Running:

  • 5K – 10K: We recommend 5-7 days off running regimented or with any intensity. The 5K-10K distances may seem short in comparison to the marathon distance, but the intensity can be a lot of stress on the body. Not to mention, the mental fatigue that comes with rigorous training can lead to burnout. It's smart to use the post-race weeks as strategically placed planned breaks from training.

After the 5-7 day period most athletes can begin easing back in to a regular training routine.

  • 13.1 - 26.2: We recommend 3-7 days off running completely. The exact number of days you choose will depend on how long you were on your feet and how experienced you are in racing that distance. During the 3-7 days off running we suggest incorporating 2-3 brisk walks, gentle yoga, and/or PNF stretching.

The 1st run back post half or full marathon is one we advise approaching with some caution. Run EASY (or slower than easy) and take the time to listen to your body and any aches/pains that arise. When in doubt, take 1 more rest day.

Once the initial weeks of recovery are in the past the next 2-3 weeks should reflect the athlete's next goals.

1 strategy that we use for this time period is called the "Reverse Tapering. This is a great way to get back into the groove of training in a progressive way that allows an athlete to be ready to race again. If an athlete has a larger timeframe before their next goal race strength-building, speed development, and volume building are all great options for an off-season focus.

It's about staying healthy enough to do what we love.

By taking the time to partner with Coach or create a recovery plan we can avoid common mistakes that lead to overtraining, injury, and/or burnout. Most importantly, we can keep running!

Interested in a custom post-race recovery plan tailored to your unique goals? Simply email Coach Laura at

Happy Running! :)

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