One of the most overlooked aspects of distance running is what you should do the week or so after a really long run.
After racing, there are a couple of standard answers.
There is the reverse taper technique, where you basically take the next 10-14 days and do the exact opposite that you did during your taper. Lots of stretching, and easy run here and there, hydrate like crazy, and after a couple of weeks you can get back to training for your next race.
Then there is the idea (that I think is bullocks, by the way) that you should take the same number of days off after a race as the number of miles run. So for a half, you take 13 days off. For a full, 26.
I’ll take a few days off after a full, but I’m not taking almost 4 weeks off.
So I guess, almost by default, that makes me much more of a reverse taper guy. And I’m ok with that.
But what do you do after a long run (maybe your longest ever) during your training for a race?
Simple, you adjust.
A good training plan or a good running coach will make sure that the week after a long effort is a lighter week to allow for recovery and decrease the risk of injury.
When I work with my clients, I always make sure that after the longer runs near the end of the marathon training program are followed by some time to recover after. I don’t have them take days off, but I’ll have them running fewer repeats, or slower paces, so their body can adapt.
But the biggest thing you should do, whether you’re working with a coach, following a one-size-fits-none plan, or just making it up as you go, is to listen to your body.
You’ll know if you need to take another day off, decrease the intensity, or suck it up and run.
Don’t second guess yourself.
What Do You Do The Week After a Long Run, Whether It’s Training or a Race?