Get Back To Training After Your Half Marathon

Ready to get back to running after your half marathon race? Here’s how.

Congratulations on finishing the Windsor Half! After a few days rest, you’re wondering exactly how you should ease back into training. Whether you’ve got another race planned, or just want to run for fun, here’s how to get back into training after any half marathon race.


How Soon To Train Again?


This is the big question. If you’ve got another race in the diary, your recovery period will be dictated by the amount of time between events. But if the Windsor Half was your final race (or only race) of the season, you can be more flexible.


There’s no rush to get back to official running training. Wait for at least 7 days.  During this time, keep your legs moving by going on gentle walks. You could also do some yoga, Pilates, or simple at-home stretching. The goal is to rest from running completely but keep your body moving.


Give your body and mind enough time to recover properly and you’ll benefit in the long term. Once you feel properly rested (no aches and pains, no tiredness, a return to normal eating patterns and appetite) then ease back into gentle running. But leave the watch and tracker at home. Run for fun! You’ve just completed a long and strict training plan. This is your chance to get back to running for the fun of it.


5 Rules For Your First 10 Days

In the first 10 days after your half marathon, focus on these 5 factors:


Sleep: treat your body to more sleep than usual. You’ll have extra time (because you won’t be training!) Aim for 8 hours a night. Make it great quality sleep, by keeping your bedroom cool and dark. Eliminate light from electronic devices, phones, and from outside. And don’t take your phone into the bedroom. Your sleep will improve so much.


Hydration: after a half marathon, your body will need more water and electrolytes. So keep drinking water, add in some coconut water (or electrolyte tablets), and lightly salt your food. Choose foods that contain plenty of water, too: melon, salads, crunchy veg, and fruits.


Nourishment: help your body recover by feeding it hearty, nourishing meals. Have a serving of protein per meal and snack, include plenty of vegetables, and don’t forget the carbs. Aim for natural, one-ingredient foods at least 80% of the time.


Stretching: stretching your quads, hamstrings, calves, hips, glutes and back will feel great after a race. You can do this yourself at home, or attend some yoga classes. At-home stretching can be boosted by using a tennis ball to gently stretch the fascia.


Activity: keep moving during your recovery weeks. This doesn’t mean running, but keep activity levels up so you don’t get stiff and sore (or feel sluggish). Walking is great, or you could choose any cross training activity you enjoy (like swimming, cycling, or some gentle cardio at the gym).


2 Example Training Schedules


If you want to get back to training quickly, start thinking about the week after your half marathon. Here’s an example of what you could do (this assumes no injuries!)


Day after the race: rest completely (walk if you want to but don’t push it)

Day 2: 2-4 mile walk

Day 3: 30 minutes gentle cardio (not running)

Day 4: 40 minutes low-mid cardio (not running)

Day 5: 4 mile run (easy pace)

Day 6: rest (yoga or stretching if you can)

Day 7: 5 mile run (easy pace)

Day 8: 40 minutes low-mid cardio (not running)

Day 9: 5 mile run (mid pace)

Day 10:  6 mile run (1 mile warm up, 2 miles 1/2 marathon pace, 1 mile with some 30 second 5K-pace bursts, then gentle run to finish)


If the Windsor Half was your final race of the season, you’ll want a different approach. You won’t want to stop running completely, so find a gentle training plan that eases you back into running for enjoyment over Autumn. Try this as an example.


Day after the race: rest completely (walk if you want to but don’t push it)

Day 2: short walk and stretching

Day 3: 2-3 mile walk and stretching

Day 4: 2-3 mile walk and stretching

Day 5: 30-40 minute bike ride (or any cross training you enjoy)

Day 6: rest (stretch or yoga if you can)

Day 7: Day 5: 30-40 minute bike ride

Day 8: yoga class

Day 9: 45-60 minute bike ride

Day 10: yoga class