QT: How Soon is Too Soon to Start Running Again After a Race?

A lot of runners have a problem taking time off.

The circumstances rarely matter. If we are not running, many of us can’t stop thinking about when we can start running again.

Sound familiar?

Patience is a Virtue

Rest and recovery, especially after a race, isn’t one of those things where less is more.

You need to give your body enough time to recover fully after testing your limits on the roads or trails.

But how much time does that take?

That is the million dollar question.

And here’s my ten cent answer: it depends.

There is No One-Size-Fits-All Recovery Window

I’ve heard a few different “theories” about how long runners should wait after their race before they start running again, but the truth of the matter is that there is no timeframe that is universal for all runners.

Shoot, the amount of recovery time you will need to take after every race that you run is probably going to be different for every race that you run!


Because there are so many variables at play!

How long the race was, how hard you raced, the quality of your training leading up to the race, and a whole host of other factors each play a role in how much recovery time you need.

So for some “expert” to try to tell you that after every race of X distance you need to take Y amount of recovery time is, in the view of this expert, complete and total bullshit.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a formula that you can use to help you figure out when you’re ready to start running again…

Be Pain-Free + 3 Before Running Again

This is the formula that I use for myself, and for my coaching clients, to gauge when it’s ok to start running again after a demanding race.

Is there science behind it? A little.

But like all things when it comes to putting a good training plan together, there is as much, and maybe more, art that has to be combined with the science to make the process work properly for each person.

I’m glad you asked!

Like most things in my world, its beauty is in its simplicity.

If you’re still sore after your race, don’t run.

Once you can honestly say that you are 100% pain-free, wait 3 more days.

Then, and only then, would I recommend that you start running again.

Don’t Jump in the Deep End, Either

Waiting to be pain-free + 3 provides a pretty big window for when you can start running again.

For some, that could literally be just a handful of days.

If you really pushed your limits, it could very easily take 10 days or more.

Either way, once you are in the clear don’t just dive back into serious training.

Ease back in with some easy runs. When you’re ready to pick up the intensity a bit, ease into that as well.

Maybe start with a short tempo run and gradually move into the higher intensity speed workouts as an example.

The idea here is to almost engineer a “reverse taper”, where you build back up to your normal level of training over the course of a week or two coming out of your race.

Keep the Long View in Mind

Why wait to be pain-free + 3? Why not jump back into running as soon as possible?

You know how hard it is to wait until you’re pain-free + 3 to start running again?

If you rush the recovery process and start running again before your body is ready, your odds of getting injured go up.

And when you’re injured? Odds are the recovery process from an injury is going to be quite a bit longer than the necessary recovery after a race.

So you can either suck it up and be patient about your recovery after your race or you can be forced to not run due to injury.

The choice is yours. But as I see it, there is really only one choice.

How Do You Determine When You’re Ready to Start Running Again After a Race?

Want to Support the Continued Growth & Production of the Show?

Check out the support page for ideas and suggestions of ways you can help me grow the show. And remember, not all support involves money. Some of the best ways you can show your support are 100% free.

Subscribe to the Show

Never miss another episode of the Diz Runs With podcast by subscribing to the show, and for my fellow Apple fans out there, it’s never been easier now that the podcast app is native on the new operating system. iPhone/iPod/iPad users click here. Android users click here. SoundCloud users click here.

Please Give Me Some Feedback!

Take the 6 question listener survey to help me shape the future of this podcast.

Register for a Free Race Training Plan

Every month, I’m giving away a FREE training plan for the race of your choice. For details/information, and to sign up, just click here.

Join The Tribe!

There’s always room for more members of the tribe! Both the Facebook group and the email group provide opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The Facebook group is still small, but it is a great way to connect with fellow runners and foster community amongst like minded individuals. The email group is THE way to stay up to date about future guests on the show, as well as getting some other freebies and offers that aren’t available to anyone else. If you’ve got questions about either/both, just let me know!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *