I have no idea how long one should wait before running after a marathon. I just know (well, believe) that the Marathon Maniac length of time is too short (e.g. running another one the next day or next week), and the common recommendation of one day for every mile (i.e. 26 days) is too long, at least for me.
I also now know (or believe) that three days is probably not quite enough. I figured that out yesterday when I took my inaugural post-marathon run, 6.2 miles from my office to meet my parents at Fred Meyers.
I went out at about 2:00, while the sun was still shining brightly and the temperature was up to about 32 degrees. I was dressed comfortably in new Asics Thermopolis pants, my half-zip top and a heavier running jacket, hat and gloves, and I was quite comfortable with that outfit. I soon learned, however, that my quads were still more affected from the marathon run (and most likely the hills, down and up) than I would have believed. Rather than being heavy or stiff, my legs (thighs) actually hurt, more than I have really experienced before in a run.
I certainly had no intention of trying to run at any kind of speed at all, and I was actually surprised that my pace was still just over ten minutes or so. I ran across the old highway and bridges to Marysville, which is not my favorite place to run (the fast traffic zooming by scares me), but the distance and destination worked well.
I was able to note some distances, for future information. From my office to the first bridge on the highway is one mile. From the office to the last bridge (just in Marysville) is 2.5 miles. The total distance to Fred Meyers is about 6.2 miles (depending on what door you go to).
After about five miles my legs finally felt warmed up and I sped up a little without working at it. The last 1.2 miles were about a 9:40 pace, fast enough to make my average 10:01 for the 10K distance overall.
I thought that it was fitting that my first post marathon run was 10K, sort of re-enacting the final miles of the marathon. Except of course the marathon miles were a lot faster.
I met my parents at Fred Meyers to help pick out a new pair of glasses for my dad, as he broke his old pair. I, of course, am a pro at spectacle style, as I wear many different pairs myself and picked out his old ones. My consultation was somewhat interrupted by my conversation with one of the opticians, a woman who is a marathon runner and qualified for Boston a few years ago at the age of 48. It was fun talking to her because there is kind of a limit on how much you can talk marathon-talk with family, friends, and co-workers without becoming a little...tedious. My mom kept trying to draw my attention back to the glasses, and eventually, after about 20 frames tried, we narrowed it down to two and then made a final selection.
By the time we finally left the store (for my parents to drive me back to the office), the sun was setting and it was getting colder, and I was shivering in my still slightly damp (lightly sweaty) running clothes. My legs were still a little achy too, and I decided, when I eventually got home, that I would soak in a long-postponed epsom salt bath!
After my sore-legged run I determined that a longer rest period was in order before running again. I think my next easy run will be on Monday. Tomorrow morning (Friday), when I would normally be running, I have scheduled a massage instead, and then I have an appointment for a haircut and highlights (good substitute for a run, I think!).
The other reason I am willing to put off running for a bit is our bitterly cold weather. Sub-20's at night! Which means sub-20's at 6 a.m. as well. Somehow, that sort of cold weather, in the dark, seems rather unappealing. By next week it should warm up a little. Even 30's would be okay!
I think this post-marathon reverse taper plan sounds pretty good. Not too easy, but easing back into running after a week of rest. I am probably lucky that I had a half mile walk back to the hotel after the race, to keep my legs working for a while before going into a full-fledged rest. This week I have, lieu of running, been using the elliptical machine at the Y, and that seems to be a satisfactorily low-impact way of getting some exercise without stressing my legs too much.
Tonight I will be making cookies for my Book Club cookie exchange. Hope I can keep myself from eating too much cookie dough!