How To Ensure Quick Post Marathon Recovery and Begin Preparation For Your Next Event
On The Smart Runner Podcast this week we’re taking a look at Post Marathon Recovery. Marathon recovery starts as soon as you cross the line and by affording it some consideration now, it will benefit you big time later.
We’ll take a look at nutrition, hydration, rest and a bunch of other things you can do immediately, and over the two to three weeks after the marathon to help get you back in action quickly.
Links From The Show
Right now the focus of your attention is on getting to the start line and finishing the marathon, and rightly so. However, every experienced marathon runner knows that some consideration needs to be given to post marathon recovery.
From the moment you cross the line your body will begin to seek out nutrition and rest so it can recover. You’ll cool down quickly, you’ll also get hungry very quickly too, so you’ll need to be on the ball.
You’ll need to get warm and fed ASAP after you cross the line, and if you caught last week’s episode you’ll have read the tips for preparing food and a change of clothes for after the run.
In addition, check out these 15 tips to aid your post marathon recovery.
15 Tips To Help Post Marathon Recovery
#1 Keep Moving After You Cross The Line
There will be an almost overwhelming temptation to sit or lie down after you cross the line – avoid doing this. You’ll get cold very quickly and muscles will begin to seize up due to a build up of hydrogen in the muscles.
Stopping dead after a long hard run like the marathon, will not aid recovery so keep moving and your body will purge the waste products that cause stiffness. Besides, the marshals will move you on anyway.
#2 Get Dry & Warm Quickly
It’s likely you’ll have spent all your energy reserves and your body will be crying out for glucose. As such your body temperature will drop pretty quickly and in worse case scenarios can lead to hypothermia.
If it’s raining and you’re wet, your body will cool down even quicker, so make a bee-line for the baggage area and get changed into warm dry clothes as quickly as you can.
#3 Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water is obtained from young coconuts and contains lots of nutrients and naturally occurring sugars that will help your recovery better than sugary energy drinks.
Coconut water is high in electrolytes too and is said to be close to that of ideal human blood levels. Pack a 250ml carton in your bag and get it down you straight after the race.
#4 Have A Protein Shake
Although I don’t usually go for powdered protein, it’s handy for after an event. Mixing 30 or 40 grams in a shaker with 200 mls of milk is a good ideal to help muscle fiber rebuilding.
Another option I like to use at smaller events where I can get to my car easily, is to crack a couple of raw eggs into my shaker with some milk. Not everyone’s cup-of-tea but it works for me.
#5 Eat Some Carbohydrate
You’ve just got your coconut water int you, but you’ll need something more substantial too. How about a couple of slices of wholemeal loaf with butter and sliced egg!
Here your mixing good quality carbs and protein together and it’s a good job to keep hunger at bay until you get to a restaurant with friends to celebrate.
#6 Avoid the Booze
Ok, I’m not going to bash you over the head here because I like to have a drink, but consuming alcohol soon after you finish is not good Post Marathon Recovery.
In a recent article on alcohol and recovery I penned for the guys over at Kinetic Revolution, I highlighted several studies that showed what we probably know anyway. Booze and sport don’t mix.
#7 Drink Plenty Of Water
After Dublin City Marathon, I like to pick a spot on the steps of the old buildings on Merrion Square, eat, drink and relax for about 30 mins.
While you’re having your small post race meal, drink plenty of water to wash it down. Drink water rather than sports drinks as it will aid your recovery far better.
#8 Have A Good Meal
After meeting friends and family, find yourself a friendly bar or restaurant like The Duke on Duke Street. I’ve made it a habit of dropping in there afterwards for a big feed!
You might be heading straight home and if so make yourself a meal with a healthy portion of carbohydrates. How about a nice plate of buttery spuds, lamb chops and peas! – Nice one.
#9 Drink Alkaline Smoothies
Drinking alkaline rich smoothies are good for post marathon recovery. Alkaline foods such as green leafy veg help return your blood alkaline levels back to normal in the days after the marathon.
Have one a day over the coming week to help reduce inflammation and promote recovery of sore muscles. I like to blend the following together;
- Green apple x 1
- A handful of spinach
- 1 x half avocado
- 100ml of water
#10 Go For A Sleep
Sleep is an obvious one and you’ll likely want to go for a snooze anyway soon after. However, considering it’s a holiday on Monday, consider avoiding the temptation to go out on the town.
As mentioned above, alcohol is not good for post marathon recovery and drinking your head off will only delay recovery and compound discomfort.
#11 Have A Warm Bath
When you get home jump into a nice warm bath with epsom salts and a spoon of bicarbonate of soda. Apart from the fact is helps the legs recover, it’s really good for relaxing.
In the days after the event it’s also a good idea to take a bath in the evenings as long as there is some muscle soreness there.
#12 Go For A Massage
I mentioned Liam Hennessy in last weeks podcast and I’ll give him a shout here too. I’ve been seeing Liam for general massage and injury treatment for years and recommend him highly.
Getting yourself a massage in the days after the event will really help your post marathon recovery
#13 Go For A Walk
Although not always applicable to everyone in all cases, I’d advise you don’t run for a couple of days. Go for a mile walk to loosen out the following day.
Towards the end of the week maybe go for a light 3 or 4 mile run. In week two after the marathon you might pick that up and then in week three move into maintenance mode.
#14 Go For A Swim
Swimming is a great man for loosening out tired limbs. Many coaches recommend aqua-jogging and if that’s your bag then fire away.
However, a casual few lengths of the pool is likely to aid post marathon recovery just the same.
#15 Stretch & Roll Out
Dynamic stretching and rolling out for 15 mins per day is an effective way to aid recovery of sore muscles. However, you might want to ease off the roller until 2 or 3 days later.
Rolling a golf ball under the sole of your foot is good for sore feet, and a tennis ball is also good for getting into those hard to reach areas too.
So There You Have It
Just a few tips there to aid your post marathon recovery and after only a few weeks of that you’ll be raring to go for your next marathon.
Whatever happens make sure to keep a steady training regime going so you don’t lose all the work you’ve put in over the last few months or even the past year.
The good news is that your next marathon will be a lot easier if you keep your training going, and come the spring you’ll be hopping off the road.
Looking for assistance with your marathon preparation? Not Sure how to execute training drills or indeed practice the right training? Get in touch with Larry for 1-2-1 marathon coaching and cruise your way to your next marathon PB.