Recover Like You Mean It

There is nothing like a boring, recovery cycle to make me slack off on blogging, apparently. But maybe it’s for the best. After all, recovery runs aren’t very sexy. The thing is though, while a recovery cycle isn’t very sexy, it is very important.

In the words of Pete Pfitzinger:

“You have little to gain by rushing back into training, and your risk of injury is exceptionally high at this point, owing to the reduced resiliency of your muscles and connective tissue after the marathon.”

As an injury-prone runner, this is key. I don’t want another stress fracture, and I have high expectations for myself next year. The only way to meet those expectations is to stay healthy and whole. Therefore, I’ve been following the 5-week recovery program from Advanced Marathoning very closely.

Here’s what my schedule has looked like:

Recovery Plan

As you can see, easy easy easy! Yellow indicated all recovery/easy-paced runs (these can be as slow as my HR requires, sometimes 2+ minutes slower than marathon pace!). Navy indicates general aerobic (faster than easy, just a smidge slower than long run-pace, or about 7:50-8:10 for me), and red indicates long run-pace (7:35-7:50).

I’m only getting back to double digits this week! And I’ve only had five runs so far at faster than easy pace!

But I really, really needed it. I ran all my runs with my heart rate monitor, and it’s amazing to see how—even after the physical soreness disappears—the impact of the marathon lingers.

My heart rate for the first three weeks was very skittish, jumping at the slightest incline or any gust of wind. It was really only today that I felt like it was more normal, more consistent and steady. And I guess that makes sense. I’ve heard that it takes you one day per mile to recover from a race. For a half marathon that means 13 days. For a marathon, that means 26. As of today, it’s been 24 days, so pretty close!

Still, I have nearly another two weeks until I start workouts again. I will start training for the Boston Marathon on Monday, December 28. I’m doing a 16 week cycle, a tad shorter than my usual 18, but I really felt that it was important to carry out this training cycle for the full five weeks. I’m looking forward to mixing things up again, but I’m trying to embrace the easier weeks while they last.

I’ll leave you today with a couple of my favorite pictures from the Philadelphia Marathon 😀


The men drafting off of me 
High Five
High five from the Mayor! 

4 thoughts on “Recover Like You Mean It

    1. Wow, three times is impressive!! Do you think knowing the course helps? I’ve never run the same half or full more than once.

      Next up is Boston, with maybe a half and 10k during training!


  1. Isn’t Pfitz great? Are you planning to adapt his 18 week plan for Boston? I think the overlap between the recovery plan and start of the 18 week will be pretty minimal because his start pretty easy. I’m trying to decide between 55 and 70 right now — I did 55 this time around because I hadn’t run a marathon in two years, and I’m not sure I want to jump back to 70 yet. (I hit 90 one season … and got a stress fracture.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pfitz is great! My plan right now is kind of a Frankenplan. It’s basic structure is Pfitz, but adapted to peak at 65 (I don’t feel ready for 70 yet!) and including some workouts from JD and McMillian. Pfitz just doesn’t get quite enough lactate threshold and VO2Max workouts in for my tastes.


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