Marathons are tough on the body, there’s no way around this fact. Your whole body from your muscles and tendons to less thought of hormones and almost every physiological system is pushed to the max during a marathon race. Muscle fatigue, cellular damage and weakened immunity are all common post-marathon consequences but you don’t have to suffer if you take your recovery seriously.
After completing what may feel like the toughest physical and mental challenge of your life, the only thing marathon runners will want to do after the race is enjoy a well-deserved rest! However, succumbing to this temptation and neglecting proper recovery can result in your body’s lactic acid building up too uncomfortable levels. This will result in your movement being restricted and could leave you dealing with painful cramps.
To avoid this, here are some tips on how to work on your recovery in the week after your race:
Low impact movement
Immediately post-run you don’t want to be doing any high-impact exercise. From the day after the marathon, you will want to pick up some gentle movement. Although you may not feel like it, it is suggested that recovery movement is beneficial. However, you might not want to do another run or even a walk as there is still a high amount of ground force and impact. An alternative would be a slow cycle on a stationary bike or some time on the cross trainer to encourage blood flow, without impact.
Bathe before bed
Fill a hot bath with Epsom Salt to aid recovery and provide soothing and repair of the muscles. Even if you don’t have salts on hand, a long hot bath to soak and relax your muscles will feel great.
The repairing of muscles and surrounding tissue can be accelerated if you have better rest. Ensure you get a good night sleep regardless!
Eat well and hydrate
Adding turmeric as a seasoning to foods such as rice and fish (high in Omega 3) can decrease muscle inflammation. Don’t forget to also include plenty of carbohydrates in your diet to replenish your energy stores. Vitamin C is also a great vitamin to include at this time due to its antioxidant properties.
After doing any exercise your body will have lower amounts of essential salts. Water is the best thing for you as this will improve circulation and digestion and replenish all the water you lost through sweat and heavy breathing.
This could even be performed yourself if needed using a tennis ball, massage gun or foam roller. A massage will again encourage blood flow and therefore, help to drain the lactic acid whilst bringing fresh blood to your muscles and tissues.