Many people are familiar with the taper before a race. (If you want more information on the taper check out this detailed post). However, less people understand the concept of a proper post-race recovery.
First, let me mention that if this is a race that you do as part of your training, at a training pace not a race pace, this does not apply in the same manor. For example: I have a client who is running a half marathon instead of her 14 mile long run for marathon training, but she is running it at long run training pace just like she does every weekend. Therefore, she will continue on as it was just another training run.
This applies when you are running at race pace during a race, or if you are doing a race that is much longer than your normal training runs (like jumping from a 20 mile training run to a 26 mile marathon). In a case like this you need a post-race recovery, a reverse taper if you will, just like you tapered before the race.
You cannot just jump back in at your full mileage and effort, instead you must gradually increase mileage just like you gradually decreased mileage during the taper period. In fact your taper period is a great way to measure how long your post-race recovery should be. For example: If you tapered down for 3 weeks prior to a marathon then you need to give yourself that same 3 weeks in post-race recovery time to work your way back up.
Marathon Post-Race Recovery/Reverse Taper Example:
Week 1 – 30% of mileage – very slow, lots of walking
Week 2 – 60% of mileage – working on gradually returning to easy pace
Week 3 – 80% of mileage – at easy pace
Week 4 – back to 100% – can resume speed work
The distance and intensity of your race will determine how long your post-race recovery/reverse taper should be. Half marathon post-race recovery would not be as intense as that for a full and so on.
Let me know –
How do you set up your post-race recovery?
Is having a reverse taper after the race something you consider?