After the completion of my first half marathon a couple weeks ago, I decided to take a few days of passive recovery followed by a few days of active recovery.
For my passive recovery I basically took complete off days. This lasted about 3 days. I wasn't necessarily a couch potato though. I stayed active by doing things around the house and things that got put on hold when running took up a lot of my time. This is also a good time to evaluate your training plan, fuel and nutrition choices, and performance. I was pretty much just thrilled to have completed the race, so I didn't do much evaluating. However, if I choose to run another half marathon, I will definitely take a look back at my plan and notes to see what worked for me and what didn't.
Then came my active recovery. I chose to exercise, but at a lower intensity. In general, I stuck to an hour or less of low to moderate intensity exercises. For me, that consisted of body weight exercises, walking, recreation sand volleyball, and more walking. The goal during this phase is to stimulate circulation to help remove waste products and provide nutrients to soft tissue cells because this accelerates healing. The phase should last about 7-10 days. (That gave me a total recovery period of 8-13 days). Everyone is different, and it is important to note how you feel throughout your recovery.
So, now what?
I have not decided if I want to continue to run half marathons or not. I enjoyed it, but I don't want to jump the gun to sign up for another one quite yet. I want to let the running high wear off a bit before I make a decision. I am going to continue to run my normal 3-6 miles a couple days a week, but I have also decided to mix in something I have been missing... I miss classes. Spinning, boot camp, body works, pilates, yoga, conditioning, etc. These are all classes I took pretty religiously for awhile before beginning training for my half marathon. I probably still could have done some of them while training (I did do a lot of yoga during training), but it was difficult for me to find the time.
I am going to take time to switch things up and explore other exercises I enjoy as I try to meet some goals I made for myself.
One goal I am excited about is to work on lowering my 5k race time! My husband and I really enjoy running 5k races, so we are hoping to sign up for a couple more this Summer and Fall together. It would definitely be exciting to push myself to shave some time off my PR!