5 Super Recovery tips for after a Marathon!


Congratulations you have reached your “holy grail” - you completed a marathon!
Maybe if was your first one or maybe you’re an old hand at it. Either way you put months of training and preparation into getting to the “big day”. But have you given any thought as to how you will recover effectively and efficiently in the days that follow? Probably not. Let's be honest—once you've finished the marathon, you just want to be done.

Most inexperienced runners undervalue the importance of this period of your “training”. It you have not considered this period then Dr. Hegarty (Clinical Director Pain Relief Ireland) believes “you are exposing yourself to “silent” injury and run the risk of injury and pain in the weeks and months ahead”.

Here are 5 simple tips to help get you back in training with the least amount of fuss and reduce the risk of injury.

Marathon Super Recovery Tip 1: Take a Shower

Immediately after the race you should shower. Alternate between cold water and hot water on your legs—one minute hot, then one minute cold. The cold water causes vasoconstriction (i.e. blood vessels close and get smaller) of the blood vessels in your legs, while the hot water causes vasodilation (i.e. blood vessels open and get bigger). This oscillation between the vessels closing and opening helps rush oxygen-rich blood to your legs.

Marathon Super Recovery Tip 2: Eat (Protein), Sleep, Repeat (Then Get on your feet!)

After your contrast shower, have a protein-rich meal. Then, get a good night's sleep. The next day, you take the day off from running, right? Wrong. You've got to get moving the day after the marathon. I know it's hard, but you need to go for at least a brisk walk, and possibly a light jog. Do something to get blood moving in your legs to help facilitate the healing process.

This run or walk is your check-in with your body post-race. Is your left knee sore and your right gluteal muscles tight? Or maybe you have horrible blisters on one foot but not the others. You need to gather this information so that you can take it to your physiotherapist or coach to figure out what you can do in the future to minimize these issues that may have held you back some during the race.

Marathon Super Recovery Tip 3: Value Your Recovery

The next step you should consider following the marathon is to invest a little money in yourself.

Visit your physiotherapist. Why? Because in the final miles of a well-run marathon, there is undoubtedly a breakdown in your biomechanics, and that breakdown means that you're asking more of one muscle group or more of one side of your body than the other. Simply put, you're likely asymmetric when you finish the marathon and you need someone who can help you gain back that symmetry and take care of any little injuries you may have incurred during the race.

When athletes are worked on by a therapist, their minor injuries or "niggles" tend to go away after one or two sessions. Now, I know what you're thinking. This will cost money and that money could be spent on a new pair of shoes.

But, when you consider the money and time spent seeing a therapist, it's a small fraction of what you spent on your marathon registration, travelling to the marathon, lodging and meals. Plus, most good therapists will give you a small list of strengthening exercises you can do to strengthen your minor muscles or improve symmetry. So find a good therapist and invest some money in yourself so that when you resume training you're 100 percent healthy and ready to train at a new level.
Contact Pain Relief Ireland and we can help with your recovery.

This run or walk is your check-in with your body post-race. Is your left knee sore and your right gluteal muscles tight? Or maybe you have horrible blisters on one foot but not the others. You need to gather this information so that you can take it to your physiotherapist or coach to figure out what you can do in the future to minimize these issues that may have held you back some during the race.

Marathon Super Recovery Tip 4: Hydrotherapy Before You Resume Running

Recovery from a marathon has long been thought of as: Take X number of days off, then start running again. But, a new model for marathon recovery values the healing power of getting oxygen-rich blood to damaged muscle tissue.

One way to do this is to swim or aqua jog. Both are good because you simply move some blood around the body and speed up the healing time of the cellular damage that occurred in your leg muscles during the race.

Also, there is some benefit to being in water for the lymph system, as the hydrostatic pressure of the water gives your lymph system a gentle massage that helps flush out the toxins and waste products you might be holding onto post-marathon. Biking, cross-training on the elliptical and hiking are also good choices too— all three of these activities meet the criteria of getting blood to your damaged muscles.

So when do you start running? For many of you, the thought of going two or three weeks without running is hard to imagine, yet many elite distance runners take a long break after a marathon. This is a great time to cross-train, which could include activities as gentle as a brisk walk or a hike. The key here is that you should give your body some time to realign and heal from the stress of a marathon.

Marathon Super Recovery Tip 5: Get Stronger Before You Start Training Again

The good news: You have time to do some serious, focused non-running ancillary work at this time. Dr. Hegarty refers to this as General Strength and Mobility (GSM) and, in the days following the marathon, it's a great time to complete this type of work.

Post-marathon GSM practice proves beneficial because every runner has weaknesses, often with their minor muscle groups, and this work helps strengthen those areas. Consider Lunge matrix warm up and other routines before and after cross-training. When you return to running keep these elements as part of your training and you'll be that much closer to running injury-free.

Remember, the reason to do GSM work is to stay injury-free, which will allow you to run more miles and more intense workouts. This work can be a bit boring and definitely is not as enjoyable as a nice run with friends. But if you want to improve as a runner, then you need to improve your basal level of general strength, and you need to improve your hip and ankle mobility. Think of this work as an insurance policy again injury for your next block of serious run training.

Finally plan your recovery!

Completing / racing a marathon is a huge accomplishment, and you should be proud to finish. But you should also take these 5 simple super recovery tips following the marathon to ensure that your next phase of serious run training goes well. Finally listen to your body. You will know it better than anyone else and be prepared to act.

Invest in yourself with everything from a contrast bath to a couple of physiotherapy sessions to daily GSM work. Talk to the experts and pick up on the small injury early.

If you do these things, you'll be ready to run even faster the next time you toe the line. Best of luck and good running!

Cork City Marathon is on June 4th.
Find out more on the website - www.corkcitymarathon.ie.
Stay in touch with their Facebook Page - facebook.com/corkcitymarathon

Pain Relief Ireland can help your recover effectively and with the least amount of fuss. Call us on 025 86310 to make an appointment.

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