Recovery from a marathon as a triathlete

Last weekend I (Fraser) completed my first marathon as a stand alone event, as opposed to during an Ironman distance event, which I’ve done on numerous previous occasions. This is certainly not something I would usually have considered doing as a part of my regular training plan leading into an upcoming Ironman race. However, the lure of a home race on the home roads of Stirlingshire was too strong, and I simply couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by.

In general, when building up to a full distance Ironman I would cap my longest run at somewhere between 32 – 35km or 2h10 – 2h20, give or take, but I started the marathon this weekend with the failsafe of pulling out around those markers, in case I was feeling particularly ropey or sore. I didn’t want the event to be a case or “2 steps forward, 3 steps back”. However, when I reached the 2h15 mark I was committed, dug a littler deeper and crossed the line at 2:49:51.

To get make sure I recovered as well as possible I had a simple plan for the immediate days after the marathon;

Sunday evening:

light stretching / mobility work (gentle foam roller and tennis ball work) / short swim ~ 1500m / sauna & steam room


Easy swim ~ 3000m aerobic longer reps / very easy bike ride ~ 90mins / light mobility & stretching / massage


Steady swim ~ 3000m  aerobic shorter reps / steady bike ride ~ 80mins / massage


Short swim ~ 2500m short faster reps /  longer aerobic bike ~ 3hours

Following this simple routine each day after the marathon has allowed me to start back into what I call my ‘real training’ from Thursday onwards, including my first run – albeit a gentle jog – and resuming hard bike sessions.