Post Season Recovery

It’s that time of year where most of us have either finished our goal race or about too.

Now what?

Before we begin, one note: I bundle both 5km and marathon races together in context of their recovery. Why, you say? Yes, there is a big difference between the race distance in itself, but if you trained properly for your 5k and truly pushed your limits during your 3-4 month race build-up, you need as much time to recover from the training. You need to recover both mentally and physically as you would with a marathon. It can be easy to forget the mental side of this recovery period.

5-7 days post race

This is the part where you can be a bit more flexible if you raced the 5k – half marathon distance. For these shorter events, even if you don’t feel like you need it. I recommend taking 1-3 days completely off from running. You can go for a hike, do some light cross-training, but no running. I repeat, NO RUNNING. For the next 4-6 days of the week you can go back up to your usual frequency of runs, but only 30 minutes very easy.

For the marathon distance, take 5-7 days off. Yes 7 days off of running can feel like too much for some, but your body and mind with thank you long term. It’s better taking a few extra days off than a few too little. The same goes for those first few days for the shorter races. You can go hiking and do some light cross training.

Tip: getting a massage during this first week is a great idea to speed up the recovery process.

Also, try not going ‘too crazy’ on your post race week eating binge!  You’ve worked hard and deserve to treat yourself, but can’t put too much more abuse on that poor body after it’s been so good to you!


8-14 days post race

Hopefully by this time you’re starting to feel motivated to get ‘back at it’, but you still should ‘take it easy’ for an other week.

For both the shorter and longer distance, I tell my runners to not do any structured workouts. Build your frequency of runs back to normal and keep your runs to 30-45 minutes easy. If you are a more experienced runner you can start doing 60 minutes by the end of the week. If by the end of the week you’re starting to feel frisky, you can do a few pick ups/strides in the middle or end of one of your runs, but no more.

15-21 days post race

Your numbers of runs are at about the same as they were when at peak training, and you total volume anywhere from 50-80% of your peak. You can start doing structured workouts, but remember that it can take a few workouts before your body feel back to it’s normal runner-self. So give your body some time and respect.

Enjoy the downtime.


Founder and Head Coach
Pace & Mind

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