It's a few days after your goal race and your body is feeling great, but should you resume high-intensity sessions right away? COROS Coaches have broken down the post-race recovery strategy and how to best transition into structured training, so you don't have to worry about getting back at it too soon.
Post-race Recovery Timing
It is normal to experience the post-race blues and uncertainty about what to do with your new free time. The most important thing to focus on immediately following your goal race is recovery.
The distance of your goal race will dictate how long it is suggested for you to recover before starting to train again. Take a peek at our recommended recovery times based on your race below:
- Shorter distances 10k and under: 2-3 days of rest
- Half Marathon: 4-5 days of rest
- Full Marathon: 1-2 weeks of rest, adding in low-intensity activities in the second week
- Ultra: 2-4 weeks of rest, adding in low-intensity activities in the second or third week
Keep in mind that the recovery periods shown above are suggestions based on research studies. Always listen to your body. If you need more time, take it!
What can you do during recovery days?
Recovery after a goal race can vary depending on the distance and intensity of the race, as well as individual factors like fitness level and racing experience. It may also look a little different if you have another race already lined up. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your recovery regardless if you are taking time off or resetting before another training cycle:
- Stretching: gentle stretching and restorative yoga can help reduce muscle soreness and increase flexibility. Try adding at least 10-20 minutes of stretching to your daily routine post-race.
- Active Recovery: low-impact activities like walking or swimming are perfect ways to stimulate blood flow and prevent prolonged muscle stiffness.
- Sleep: take advantage of not having to get up for a long run and get extra sleep. Set your alarm later or if your schedule allows take a nap!
How can your EvoLab metrics help with recovery?
Training Status graph from EvoLab.
Training Status is a way to help you understand the impact of recent training on your body. You can see in the graph above that this athlete went through three different stages of training, including taking post-race recovery before resuming training again.
This graph is important to reference to prevent overtraining and the risk of getting injured or under-training and showing up to race day unprepared. Often when we observe a decline in fitness, it may be misinterpreted as negative; however, it can show that you are taking the necessary time to recover, whether it's by including lower-intensity training during a recovery week, following your goal race, or during the off-season.
Think of post-race recovery like a reverse taper. This means keeping runs at lower mileage and resuming strength training by focusing on mobility and bodyweight exercises.
Training load is a calculation of activity duration and activity intensity. The more intense your activity, the higher your training load. Using this metric helps you to make sure that you are not putting yourself at risk of an injury or jumping back into training too soon.
This graph demonstrates how to keep track of your training load.
You can quickly check your recovery using the widget on your watch and in training hub. The recovery timer provides feedback on the time your body needs to receive full recovery and suggests when you are ready for easy or hard training based on your marathon level, training load, running performance, and remaining recovery time. Even if it shows that you have reached 100% recovery a few days post-race, it's still important to listen to your body and take the extra time to recover both physically and mentally to lower your risk of injury and burnout.
Recovery timer widget on your COROS watch.
Every runner is different and that means you need to do what is best for your body and future performance goals. If you are still not ready to jump back into training after taking time to recover, use this as an off-season.
This is the perfect time to focus on areas of weakness, build strength, and even try new types of workouts that you may not typically get to enjoy during a normal training cycle.
If you want your training questions answered, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll gladly share insights!