Like everything associated with marathons, recovery is one of those things that no one seems to agree on. There are the back-to-back marathoners, who claim that recovery is unnecessary. Then, there are the extremists who claim you shouldn't run hard (or, for the very extreme, at all) for 1 day for every mile you race. I generally try to give myself 2 easy weeks at a minimum. This is the Hanson's Approach, and historically, it's treated me reasonably well. I don't usually have the drive to follow a "recovery plan" as some folks recommend, so I like to just give myself a break and go by effort/desire.
So, ever since the San Luis Obispo Marathon, I've been taking it *very* easy on the running side of things.
The total mileage for both recovery weeks combined is approximately 24 miles, and that includes 50% of the mileage either on the elliptical or walking. I'm proud to say that I took the 2 week hiatus easy, but not entirely off, and I did quite a bit of cross-training with recumbant bike riding, weight training, calisthenics, a session of Bikram yoga, and over 15 hours of gardening, which, believe it or not, can be quite the cardio workout when you're digging into clay, loading wheelbarrows, moving dirt, and turning beds.
Yesterday, I headed out for my first real run since the marathon and managed a decent 3.13 miles at 10:09 pace to meet up with E at the rocket launch. Unfortunately, after walking around for 0.5 miles, I confirmed that he had already left, so I ran another easy 2.15 miles back, and walked the final 0.75 or so.
Today, I woke with great intentions for a long, easy run. But, the plan was to start the run with E at 9 AM, and E was sleeping in. Lazy, I let him. This, my friends, is how we didn't even leave for our AM run 'til 10:20. At mile 1.5, E informed me that it was much too hot and he was deserting me. At first, I was annoyed, but then I decided to make the most of it and push myself for a step-down workout to see how some faster work felt instead of pushing through the longer, slower run in the afternoon heat. It was a good, solid 3 mile run. Splits: 10:07, 9:37, 8:30. My left hamstring is a bit tight, but nothing some stretching and rolling shouldn't fix. (Oh, and in E's defense, it was 82F when I got back to the house. I haven't sweat that much, that quickly, after a short run in a very long time.)
The good news is, I think I'm recovered and ready to get back into the swing of things, running wise.
Which is good, as I've got 4 weeks 'til the Great Wall Half Marathon, and then another 4 weeks 'til the San Francisco Marathon First Half Marathon (Which, by the way, I'm very excited to do for the first time -- I may or may not be able to join F on it, depends on how speedy she decides to go out for her first marathon, but either way, it is the last of the three events of the SFM that I've never done, so it'll be cool to say I've done 'em all).