Five Things to Do After your Half Marathon or Marathon

Hello! I woke up expecting some major “DOMS” today, but nope! There is a big difference between “racing” and just aiming to finish a race for me. I raced Santa Rosa and am feeling great considering the effort! (DOMS = delayed onset muscle soreness after a hard workout.)

Per the usual “post-marathon plan” I’m taking today as a rest day with a little walk and some stretching at some point.

how do I feel today (450x800)

Anyway. Up until Sunday I thought of myself a four hour marathoner. My ‘fact finding mission’ in Santa Rosa was to try and figure out if my PR at the OC Marathon (3:36:23) was a fluke OR if my crash and burn at RnR San Diego Marathon (3:45:13) was really who I am.

monica running rock n roll san diego marathon

Turns out I ran one minute off my OC PR at the Santa Rosa Marathon this weekend. So, this means…

santa rosa marathon results post (450x800)

Um, I’m not sure. I am still three minutes away from a BQ, I enjoy running some slower races so I can party the night before (what what) BUT I’m having a serious running identity crisis.

I just realized I still have my Santa Barbara PR proudly posted on the fridge. It only happened in Nov, but I’ve shaved off over 15 minutes since then! Who am I?

marathon time on your fridge (450x800)

So, now what buttercup?

Um. Now I do the steps below to recover from my race. Then, I write down notes about what I learned from my marathon and use that to make my new training plan.

This week’s focus is on recovery and moving forward. So here are

Five Things You MUST Do After a Half Marathon or Marathon**

Five things to do after your marathon or half marathon

1. Ice Bath. It’s torture, but you’ll thank yourself the next day.

Warming your feets in macaronis is optional.


You did it! Celebrate with a Maple Bacon Funnel Cake or something equally as awesome.


3.  Compression socks and/or elevate your legs. I sported my ProCompression socks for the rest of the day on Sunday. I definitely feel a difference in recovery when I do this.


4. Rest. Meemees. Nap. Sleep in. Sleep over (not my place, it’s small).

5. Celebrate!!! (My bestpeep is taking me out to celebrate this weekend!)

happy birthday bestie

Then, the next day you can review how your race went… in your head, write it in a notebook, to your friends,  to strangers in line at the grocery store…

“Hey, gum is on sale! Cool! I was chewing gum before I RAN A MARATHON this weekend…”

The week after your race you should follow a “Zero Week” plan. This means a lot of rest, NO running for a few days and a massage for good measure.

Hal Higdon has a Zero Week plan here.

McMillan’s Post-Marathon Recovery Plan is here

Question: In ONE word – how do you feel today?

Apparently, I’m chilling.

**You don’t really have to do a damn thing. Be an adult, make your own choices. Don’t judge others on their choices. The end.


  1. says

    I have to ask about ice baths. Do you just have a huge thing of ice that you actually put into a bathtub and sit in it?? OR do you have like, paint buckets that you stick your calves/thighs into so the rest of your body isn’t freezing? Or do you get in a cold pool?

    In any case, I plan on doing the other four things after my first marathon :)

    • says

      Personally, I schelp bagged ice to the tub and make a me-martini of sorts on ice: literally tons of ice and a bit of water in the tub. (And there’s no shame in wearing a beanie while you’re doing it, or drinking ClifShot recovery – or something stronger, ha, carb replacement – too!) A cold cold pool (like at a hotel) can help too in a pinch.

    • Angela says

      I just wanted to give my two cents since I’ve been ice bathing for over 10 years haha. In high school, we used to stand in (clean!) trash cans, like those round plastic ones, for ice baths. Now after long runs, I usually fill my bathtub, put on a bathing suit bottom and a sweatshirt, grab a beer (optional of course), and go for it!

    • says

      I do ice baths in a tub with cold water and a bag of ice. Sometimes I’m nekkid, other times I change outta my sweaty stuff and put something warm on top. I know some people sip a hot beverage while sitting in the cold too.

  2. says

    The one thing I miss about running long distances is the food!! I can’t wait till I can run long again so I can thoroughly enjoy some pancakes and maple syrup.
    Today I feel: sore …did a killer glute and leg workout yesterday. killer.

  3. says

    Love post race chow down. It’s half the reason I race (not really… kind of).

    Today, I feel cranky. My run didn’t go well this morning and my Husband is being a butt. So goes life some days I guess.

  4. says

    A bit sore from the squats and lunges I did yesterday, but gearing up to take a short run with the jogging stroller (and child) later today. Finally getting my workout mojo back and I can’t quit now!

  5. says

    Happy! I’ve upped my mileage recently and so far it’s been working out great.

    Congrats on taking 15 minutes off your time. That’s huge!!

    I’m also chasing a BQ. My first (and currently only) marathon was a 4:00:11 on a hilly course (I’m a flatlander) with no hill training, speed work, or strength training. I’m hoping by incorporating these three things in my future training plans that I’ll be able to shave 21 minutes off my time to BQ by May 2014. That’s the dream!

  6. says

    I feel SORE. I go so much harder when I’m teaching strength and conditioning class compared to when I just attend or half-ass it at home. I think that’s good? Maybe?
    But it does make me want another pair of compression socks- 2 pairs is simply not enough these days. Come on, pay day!!!!

    Way to go on your speedy times!!!!!

  7. says

    I feel a little sick. Pushed through a hard workout with a nauseated tummy on Saturday and then went drinking instead of resting and I’m paying for it.

    Congrats on your times! I bet you’ll have no problem shaving a minute off sometime this fall and get your BQ.

  8. says

    that’s awesome that you’ve gotten faster! though it doesn’t seem like speed is your end goal here. which is also cool… running just to run is the best and if you happen to get fast along the way, then great i guess! congrats and good luck coping with your fast self

    • says

      Anna – although I’m an older runner (48), prefer the half marathon distance and am on the slowish side…I’m a huge fan of compression socks after a race. Once I’ve showered, I put them on and leave them on all day, I even sleep in them. I think they’ve made a huge difference in my recovery.

      • Megan says

        I’ve only got the white diabetic granny compression socks (got them to wear at work- I’m a nurse) but I’ve been wearing them after my longer runs more than anything and they really do help! Maybe I need to invest in cute ones!

  9. says

    Didn’t think that compression socks were good post-race, good info to know! I’ll def have a massage and so yummy eats on my post race schedule!

  10. says

    I feeling…stressed. Gotta get back to teaching in a week!

    Congrats on another awesome time. I know the “runner identity crisis” feeling. I took a huge chunk of time off my half marathon PR due to some smarter training and weight loss. I went from a 10 minute miler to an 8 minute miler. Im still not sure what to call myself in terms of running and its been two years! Keep it up girl, you ROCK!

  11. says

    One word: Optimistic
    I’ve got a lot to look forward to with my wedding next weekend and race in October, so I’m pretty optimistic about things right now :)

  12. says

    I have yet to do a real, proper ice bath. Maybe this winter I’ll just wade into my pool. I HATE cold water, the thought of it alone gives me chilly willies. EEK.

    Congrats on another great race. You are a super star.

  13. says

    Keep spittin’ the truth, Sista. And keep chillin. And keep rocking those marathons, kicking tail & taking names like a BOSS! You’re the

  14. says

    Monican, Don’t even make me go off on you. Who are you? Part Tarahumara that’s who! You SD RnR time was still fantastic. When’s the last time you ran over 4 hours? No identity crisis. You are fast, strong and getting better. Own it! You Rock!

    I ran your #INGClassof2013 Mid Week Accountability 8 mile workout today and it was hard. I have a video I’ll post tonight. You are gonna make me train smarter to try and catch you. Keep up the good work.

  15. says

    **You don’t really have to do a damn thing. Be an adult, make your own choices. Don’t judge others on their choices. The end.

    In other words, be a grown-ass woman… that’s how I feel today… That is all.

  16. Katie Keen says

    Good!…surprised thought i’d still be sore like yesterday. I did a ton of stretching Sunday night and on Monday.

  17. says

    I’m still working on recovering from my 10 miler that I ran this past Saturday. After stretching last night, I’m starting to feel 100%! I’m not gonna even try to run until Sunday or Monday though…just to make sure that everything is back to normal! :)
    So I guess I’m feeling decent today?

  18. says

    Monica have you adjusted your mid week run pace or your long run pace in order to try to chase down that BQ? I’m no where near that fast I’m hoping to get a 4:45 in the Chicago Marathon! But since you started out slower than you are now I am so curious to see how it can be done! Right now I’ve shaved 20ish minutes off my half marathon time but still wanna get faster!

  19. says

    I love your tips! I would also add the need to keep on moving to the list… I see someone people collapse on the floor as soon as they are over the finish line, allowing lactic aid to flood into their muscles and making movement so much harder.

    Instead of an ice bath I am bit of wimp and instead go for a cold shower on my lower body!

    I summarised my tips in my latest blog post here:

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