Post-Marathon Recovery Week 1 – Lazy and Loving It!

by Nikky Manausa on February 10, 2014

Nikky Manausa Courtesy Fred DeckerdOne Week Down, Three To Go  

Somewhere I have heard that for every mile you race, you should have an equivalent number of recovery days. A recovery day may be an all-out rest day, but recovery days can also include light cross training or easy running. That rings true to my prescribed recovery plan totaling four weeks. Yesterday marked one week since I completed the Tallahassee Marathon, my 6th marathon, with a PR (personal record) of 3:25:45.  It was definitely a lazy week, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Out of Character

For the most part, I’m not someone who really looks for a lot of downtime. My favorite way to relax is something I call SLEEP. I do love my bed! During my taper period, known as the 2-3 weeks before a marathon that you back off your training, I felt anxious and fidgety. I told my running coach, Nancy Stedman, with Southeast Distance Running, that my body (and mind) was not responding well to the rest and that I needed to run more. She kindly reminded me that my body physically needed the break before the race. After I ran those 26.2 miles though, I welcomed  the rest.

Recovery Begins Immediately After The Race 

Gone are the days where I think, “I’m not going to eat after a workout because I don’t want to undo what I just did.” Now, I look to hydrate and refuel my body as soon as possible to help recover faster so that I can turnaround and have another successful workout. Just moments after finishing the Tallahassee Marathon, I began drinking Gatorade and walked around for about 5 minutes.  I then felt I could stomach some real food and grabbed a few orange slices and 2 mini Clif Bars to munch on while I cheered on others as they crossed the finish line. Honestly, I was not hungry, but I knew I was depleted and eating would help me feel better, faster. After the awards, in which I got a HIGH FIVE from the Bart Yasso (a definite highlight of my day!), I headed to Tropical Smoothie for a Health Nut with whey protein, my favorite recovery drink.  Then it was home for my recovery “meal.”


Nothing Says a Recovery Meal Like an Authentic Louisiana King Cake! King Cake

My friends, Stephen and Callie, came over from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to run the Tallahassee Half Marathon.  With them they brought the devil, AKA, Gambino’s Bakery cream cheese stuffed king cake. They couldn’t just bring one, but two! Although I was carb loading, king cake was not on my diet before the marathon. That same day, Bo, the love of my life, asked me what I wanted for my recovery dinner. I believe my post-marathon dinner is his favorite part of my training. When I laid eyes upon that purple, green, and gold heavenly ring, the angels sang, and I knew what would take me to the finish line. No joke! I really did think about that sinful cake several times during my run! I’ve got a lot to think about in 3 1/2 hours. The moment I walked in the house I made a beeline straight to a gigantic chunk of king cake. I think I drooled a little just now thinking about it. What can I say, I eat to run run to eat!

The Rest of Sunday Afternoon

Usually after a marathon, I prefer to take an ice-bath, then a very long hot shower, followed by me “relaxing” (remember, relax = sleep). However, this time, Stephen and Callie were leaving that same afternoon, and I wanted to maximize my time with them. I gave up my slumber to participate in our kids’ hosting Mardi Gras parades in the street and to converse about our days in Louisiana. That night, I really wasn’t all that hungry for dinner, but we did share a Big Max pizza from Uncle Maddio’s. I went to bed earlier than normal and slept OK. After running that hard for that long, my legs can get a little restless.

Monday – Back to Work

Getting out of bed the day after a marathon is always shocking. I do have to wonder if that is how I will feel when I am 80 years old? Yeah right, I’ll still be running marathons!

As tempting as it was to take the day off, I did want to see my students. I work part-time as a Math Coach at an elementary school where I get to do small-group instruction for children needing extra help in math. Obviously I must love my job because I shuffled my way into work! I did wear compression socks and comfortable running shoes to soften my step.  Maybe I nonchalantly told a few people I just ran a marathon, too. They pretended to care. :)

As far as eating, I typically eat about 50% carbs/ 25% fat / 25% protein diet. I did, however, up my carb intake on Monday. I figured I had a little extra wiggle room. I really did not do much in the way of exercise except walking around my school and the grocery store. The day just kind of got away from me, but I would have loved a little more time to go for a gentle stroll.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 

No running for three more days. I took a nice evening walk with my son, Randy, Tuesday night and it felt so good! I also started writing my blog again with my first return entry titled, My Blog is Back! Times Have Changed! I’m not used to having extra hours in my day, but I *kind of* like it. Although I felt like I was physically capable to run Wednesday, I decided to take the extra rest day with the intentions to run Thursday. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and the weather was not cooperative, so I didn’t get to run on Thursday either. All was not lost though! As a family, including my husband’s parents, Trent and Mary Lou, and my brother-in-law, Mike, we ate at a delicious Japanese restaurant called Jasmine’s Cafe. My kids love Japanese food including sushi! The picture is of Maddie and her Uncle Mike enjoying some fabulous edamame. Then we headed to witness Florida State University’s encore presentation of the College of Music’sPrism Concert.” In case you did not know this about me, I am a HUGE Florida State Seminole fan! As if I did not already love Queen’s “We are The Champions“, the FSU Marching Chiefs maybe made me cry a few happy tears as they proudly proclaimed their own version. Please take a moment to watch the FSU Marching Chiefs play “We Are the Champions.”  It is worth a minute of your time, I promise!

Friday – Finally!

I couldn’t wait to drop the kids off at school and go for a run. Although I was eager to get moving, my body was not! It was a relief that nothing hurt. It is hard to believe that I ran almost 3 minutes slower for a mere 4 miles than I did for my marathon just a few days ago. It’s all part of the recovery! I did write a blog about this run experience which includes my GPS stats. You can read about it here.

Saturday – Race with the Kids

Saturday was intended to be a “no-run” day but literally at the last second my son talked me into running the 1 mile fun run race with him at the annual Run for the Cookies. This race benefits the Girl Scouts AND you get Girl Scout Cookies! Who am I kidding?! I begged Randy to let me run with him! Maddie, my 7-year-old, won her age group with a one mile time of 8:29. Randy, who is five, had a personal best of 10:13. It is so rewarding to see my kids get excited about exercise!


IMG_6886Sunday – Nice 7 Mile Trail Run

On Sunday, I met my friend, Sarah, who also ran the Tallahassee Marathon for an easy-paced trail run. There is no better way to catch up with someone than doing so out on a run. For my recovery runs, I prefer to hit soft surfaces. I’ve heard that trails are easier on your joints and help to strengthen your ligaments because you are constantly making minute adaptations to the uneven surface.  When we moved to Tallahassee 2 1/2 years ago, I made the switch to running at least half of the time on trails. Perhaps it is anecdotal, but since running trails I’ve been mostly injury free. In all honesty, I believe not spending so much time on the concrete has definitely allowed me to up my weekly mileage. Plus it’s just beautiful!


If you are interested, this is what my recovery run one week out from a marathon looks like:

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 11.14.19 PM

Recovery is Coming

All good things come to those who wait! It was easy last week to kick my feet up and chill. The second week of recovery is only slightly more active. I’ll be watching what I eat more over the next couple of weeks because I am no longer fueling myself to run 50-60 miles every week. I look forward to those days, again, knowing the only way I’ll get there is to relax, in and out, of my bed.

If you are looking for a recovery plan for your marathon, consider my coach Nancy Stedman’s plan for runners who typically run between 40 and 70 miles per week.

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