Recovering From A Marathon.
You came, you ran, you conquered…Now make sure you take good care of the body that got you all the way there.
You’ve done it! You’ve crossed the finish line, tired, hot and sweaty, but triumphant. Yep, 26 miles, and one of the biggest challenges anyone can undertake is finally done and dusted. You’ve got your medal, your sliver blanket and a bottle of Buxton Natural Mineral Water to refresh you. Not forgetting a massive sense of achievement. And no one deserves to bask in their glory more than you. So enjoy your moment, you’ve earned it – and well done from us, you’ve done yourself proud.
How you can stay in the race
The thing is, you need to be a little bit clever about what you do next. Because if you want to stay out in front, and ready for whatever challenge life throws at you next, you’re going to need a good marathon recovery routine.
And it’s not surprising. After all, when you run a race that big, your whole body takes a giant-sized beating, with every muscle, cell, tendon and ligament pushed to its limit. All on top of the weeks and months of continuous training that you’ve put in, come rain or shine. It all adds up to your body being pushed above and beyond what it’s used to.
Take some time off, you deserve it
If you’ve run a marathon, you’re a pretty exceptional person, who probably isn’t the sort to lounge about for too long. But hold your horses. Your body needs time to get back to full strength on a muscular and cellular level. By resting up afterwards, you’re also giving your immune system (which has taken a bit of a pounding too, through constant training and racing) time to recover as well – a vital point that’s often overlooked in post marathon recovery.
And whatever level runner you are, it’s recommended you take a 2-3 weeks total break from running. It may sound like a long time, but one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not taking enough time off after a marathon. It gives your body (and mind) enough time to repair and recover, and it’s all too easy to get injured, sick or mentally fatigued if you don’t. On top of that, training staleness can creep in and your performance can stagnate or plateau rather than improve. So don’t worry about losing all that precious fitness you’ve built up. If you take your marathon recovery seriously, you’ll get back into training much more quickly and consistently.
Put some good stuff back in
Try to keep an eye on what you put into your body too. Stay well hydrated (we recommend a cool refreshing bottle of Buxton Water). But it really is vital to stay on top of how much of the clear stuff you drink. After all, you’re 60% water and muscles need to be fully hydrated to work at their peak and recover properly. So try to stay sensibly hydrated at all times*.
Good nutrition can go a long way to repairing the damage to your muscles. For the next couple of weeks fill your face with plenty of carbs, quality proteins and fruits, which will help with muscle repair and boost the immune system. Immediately after the race try to eat and drink something as quickly as possible – get a banana, bagel, energy bar, fruit… pretty much anything you can get your hands on, down your neck.
Get back to it, but slowly does it
Around 3-4 days into your marathon recovery, once you’re feeling a bit more like you, do some short, very easy, low impact cross training like walking, biking or swimming. Try some very light stretching, or go for a gentle massage. But don’t even think about getting back into running for another few weeks yet – your body needs the rest.
Got aches and pains and find it difficult to walk downstairs? We suggest going down backwards. Feeling mentally shattered? Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly normal. You’ve given your all to this awesome achievement and it can leave you feeling a bit deflated a few days after. Remember, you’ve achieved something amazing, for someone else too. So why not set about your next race or challenge, whether that’s improving your time, doing some more fundraising or a whole new event or experience altogether?
Read all marathon related articles here.
Thank you to our partner Full potential for marathon recovery advice http://www.fullpotential.co.uk/
* Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature. At least 2L of water, from all sources, should be consumed per day, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle