With the London Marathon just around the corner, we have some recovery tips for you to make those weeks following the run a little easier to manage.
Rest and Recovery
So, what does this really mean? Well, lucky for you we’ve broken this down into 5 main elements to focus on post-marathon.
Carbs, carbs, carbs! It’s easy to think that your carbohydrate intake needs to decrease drastically now that you’re not asking so much of your body in terms of energy exertion, however, this is where you might be wrong. Your body is working extremely hard to recover and rebuild from the gruelling 26 miles you have put it through, and it needs the right fuels to do this efficiently and effectively. As well as carbohydrates, plenty of protein (meat fish and eggs) will help rebuild those muscles, and you can restore your electrolyte level by increasing your potassium intake, so get your hands on some bananas!
Sleep is incredibly important at the best of times, but no more so than after a marathon. Much like the food you consume, sleep can help aid the recovery and rebuilding of muscles. As the body enters a state of relaxation, it releases hormones that promote tissue repair so if you’re sleep deprived this won’t happen as efficiently. Some find sleeping post long runs quite difficult, so here are a couple of tips to help your drift off:
- Make sure you stick to a routine of sleeping and waking at around the same time every day
- The last hour or so before bed should be full of relaxation, so choose a bath before bed rather than an hour scrolling through your phone
- Avoid eating a large meal soon before going to bed
I’m sure the first thing you crave after finishing a marathon is rest. A common suggestion for post-marathon rest is 1 day of rest for every mile raced. Although it’s important to take some time away from running, this doesn’t mean stop completely in the few days following a marathon. Short, slow runs are optimal for keeping the body moving and supplying those sore muscles with the right blood supply and nutrients they need to help them heal.
You’ve spent months and months training, building stamina, and improving your general fitness to enable you to run this marathon, so it’s vital that you don’t let atrophy sneak in, both physically and mentally, through becoming sedentary and stopping running altogether. However, movement doesn’t need to come in the form of running, any light activity whether than be walking, swimming, or a gentle cycling session can be just as effective.
After an intense bout of exercise like a marathon, a sports massage 24-48 hours after can be a good way to help flush lactic acid and waste products out of the muscles into the lymphatic drainage system to aid relaxation and repair.
Why not book yourself in for a massage with us to relieve some of those muscle aches. These massages can become a consistent part of your run recovery, and in some cases have shown to improve running efficiency and time.
The last element of our recovery strategy is to plan your next goal! I’m sure your next running event is the last thing on your mind after the marathon but creating a plan and easing yourself back into some form of training early on will keep motivation and training levels high so that getting back into those intense runs won’t be so hard. So, set your next goal, whether that be a 10K, a half marathon or even an Ultramarathon if you’re feeling brave, and get those running shoes back on.
Get in touch if you’re looking for a post-run massage, some more advice, or some tips for your next goal and our team members will be more than happy to help! You can book online, drop us an email or pick up the phone to speak to one of our therapists.
Martinez-Navarro, I., Montoya-Vieco, A., Hernando, C., Hernando, B., Panizo, N., & Collado, E. (2021). The week after running a marathon: Effects of running vs elliptical training vs resting on neuromuscular performance and muscle damage recovery. European Journal of Sport Science, 1-7.
Petersen, K., Hansen, C. B., Aagaard, P., & Madsen, K. (2007). Muscle mechanical characteristics in fatigue and recovery from a marathon race in highly trained runners. European journal of applied physiology, 101(3), 385-396.
Hausswirth, C., & Le Meur, Y. (2011). Physiological and nutritional aspects of post-exercise recovery. Sports medicine, 41(10), 861-882.