How Much Recovery Do I Need?


I followed you on Saturday and hope you’re taking some time to rest and recover…which brings me to my question: how much time will you take off?  How you know when you can do your next race or even get back to regular training after a long event like Ironman?   I feel like my coach is kind of old school as she only wants me to do one ironman per year and only one marathon.  Thoughts?


Kenji, Vancouver, BC

This is a great question, and one not easily answered.   In my opinion, there is no fast, hard rule that applies to everyone in terms of how much rest, recovery and downtime they need after a big event.  

Certainly, you can start with the most obvious and ask yourself how your body is really feeling.  At the moment for me, for example, 36 hours post race, given the fact that every inch of my body is worked and I’m not even walking down stairs properly, I feel it’s safe to say it’s too soon for me to head out on a run.  I will, however, do an easy swim and maybe a light spin to help flush my legs out a bit, which helps to hasten the recovery process.

As with so many facets of training, I’m a fan of trial and error and seeing for yourself what works for you, personally.

Only you know how your body feels; tune in for potential signs of fatigue, both physical and mental as well as emotional desire to get back out there and do your best to maintain balance.  Not only do you want to keep your body healthy and injury free, you also want to continue to enjoy the fun of your sport and prevent it from beginning to feel old, obligatory and tiresome.

The take away message is that while making a broad statement such as ‘no one should do more than one ironman race and one marathon per year’ may err on the side of caution, it simply doesn’t apply to everyone.

We have to be our own best judge of what’s right for each of us!