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When can you get back to training after a half marathon or other endurance event?

Woman running a half marathon

I’m starting to get back to movement now that I’m feeling less sore after my half marathon four days ago. I took two full rest days, went for a short walk yesterday, and am back to my normal walk distance today. I’ll get back to strength training next week, but won’t do any running for another week after that.

Why the long rest?

I want to have good energy and make sure I don’t get injured when I get back to training, so I’m making sure both my body and central nervous system recover well.

What is “fully recovered”?

That is different for everyone, but your body will let you know if you listen!

Here are some signs you may not be fully recovered:

  • Elevated resting heart rate: if you use a sleep tracker like Oura ring you may also see that your HR hits its low point late into your sleep giving you a lower “recovery index” & less restful sleep

  • Low HRV: this indicates you’re experiencing more stress (sympathetic nervous system response) than recovery or “rest and digest” (parasympathetic nervous system response)

  • Increased body temperature

  • Poor sleep

  • Soreness vs injury: soreness will subside over a day or two, persistent pain may be a strain or injury

  • Illness

  • Low energy or fatigue even after a short walk

  • Appetite changes: increased or decreased hunger, swings in appetite, or cravings for carbs or salt

  • Dehydration: drinking water throughout the day > gulping it down in bursts- you can only use so much at a time

  • Digestion: endurance exercise & fuels like gels or sports drinks can affect this! IFKYK 🙈

Listen to your body, rest and recover until you feel ready, then gradually increase your training back to normal.

Depending on how you feel, that might look like:

  1. Going for short walks

  2. Increasing to longer walks

  3. Adding strength training back in but for shorter workouts, using less weight, or for fewer reps or sets

  4. Strength training for your normal duration/time/intensity

  5. Adding endurance activities back in

Again, listen to your body and progress as you feel ready.


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