Post Marathon Recovery

Hannah's Post Marathon Recovery Tips

My post marathon recovery tips

Your marathon training is almost over but have you thought about after the marathon? It is never too early to start getting your head around what will happen AFTER the marathon, even having a small idea and plan in your head for your recovery is a good idea to help your body get back to some sort of normal, and as quickly as possible! Here are some of my top tips to help you get back on the road after your marathon journey!

Don’t stretch!

This might seem a little strange seeing as everyone is always banging on about the importance of stretching after your runs to prevent injury but in the case of post-marathon the same principle isn’t necessarily true! This isn’t to say not to stretch at all – but rather keep any stretching to really gentle stretches and don’t go overboard on it. Your muscles are already very over worked and your muscle fibres damaged from the vigorous effort you have just put your body through. Light massage can often be much more beneficial than stretching – so ditch the stretching and hit a salon for a post-marathon relaxing treat (though be warned……may be on the “sore” side rather than “relaxing”)

Drink and Hydrate!

After you have crossed that finish line you will need to REPLACE the fluids you have lost. The best time for this is IMMEDIATELY! Drink plain old water and also sports drinks to help rebalance electrolytes, and protein for recovery of the muscles. Make sure you get those high carb foods back into the body for energy and foods containing potassium are also good (hence the humble bananas at the finish line!). Even though you might be desperate to celebrate your achievement with a drink – alcohol should be avoided until you are completely rehydrated…….you might not have “hit the wall” during the marathon – but you certainly might do (and pretty quickly too!) if you get boozed up!

Getting home!

This might seem like a simple one, but a little planning can help here too. You will be stiff and sore after the marathon. Getting somebody else to drive is preferable and if you have a distance to travel plan stopping off to break up the journey is also a good idea. Try not to sit in the same position for too long or you might not get back up!! Once you arrive home try and go for a short 10 min walk to loosen up again and help prevent the body seizing up. Avoid the temptation to hop into a hot bath and instead opt for a luke-warm shower/bath.

Ice!

If you have any swelling, sore joints or injuries you MUST use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). If you fail to do this then you could end up having more persistent and serious injuries. It is also worth getting checked out to see that the injury is not a more major injury (stress fracture etc)

Ease back into running GENTLY!

Even if you feel fine the next day make sure you ease back into running gradually! Your body has been through a HUGE ordeal and it takes a long time to recover. Even if you feel fine, your muscles deep down will be damaged and need time to get back to normal. So TAKE YOUR TIME and when you do get back out, stick to easy sessions before adding your speed sessions back in!

I wish everyone racing the Dublin Marathon the very best of luck. It’s a fantastic race with a fantastic atmosphere so soak it up and enjoy yourself.

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About Hannah Nolan

Wife & Mother to Two Beautiful Children | Founder & Owner of Why Weight Ireland® | Ambassador for Athletics Ireland | Columnist for the Irish Runner Magazine | Love Running
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