I just ran my first marathon and I am completely exhausted. The race was five days ago, and my muscles still ache, and I find myself completely void of any energy. Is this normal? When can I start running again? - Feeling run-down
Here is something that has never happened: no one has ever woken up in the morning after they ran a marathon and forgotten that the day before they had run twenty-six point two miles.
In fact, across the planet we find that the first most common word spoken the morning after a marathon is not a word per se, it is more of a sound: "Arrrrghhh".
There is a condition called "delayed onset muscle soreness" that many marathoners experience in the days following their race, which is described as stiffness and soreness and can last as long as a week.
Research has been done to isolate the following causes to this private discomfort:
The degree of pain that you feel following a race is directly related to the extent of muscle damage and the duration of your recovery. Rest, Ice, Compression and elevation along with massage, light exercise and slow gentle stretching can help alleviate the stiffness and soreness, but lying in a sensory deprivation chamber might yield similar results.
Lock yourself inside a warm, lightless, soundless enclosed pool of buoyant fluid such as oil, and rest comfortably for at least seven days. Upon emerging you will find that your body will be well rested and ready for whatever nightmarish activity you chose to throw at yourself.
A better idea would be to increase the blood circulation to the areas of your body that are feeling pain. This serves to move the white corpuscles in and out of the damaged areas, provoking the removal of waste and extra fluids along with the infusion of healing nutrients.
You will recover more quickly by doing short easy runs or even just pacing around the house than you will if you just sit on the couch and watch television while you are waiting to heal.
However you chose to deal with it, know that the feeling of exhaustion will dissipate, and your pain will go away, but it is through light exercise that you can stimulate the healing that your body now craves.
And if you use the sensory deprivation chamber idea, please turn the lights off when you leave!
Run long and taper.