You’ll be aching and tired but 15 minutes of walking or gentle cycling after your marathon can make all the difference. Add in some gentle stretching to allow your muscles to gradually relax. Current research supports an active recovery.
Your body temperature will drop soon after you finish the race. Be prepared with some warm clothes to prevent cold muscles.
Drink some sports drink with electrolytes immediately after the race. Be aware of over-hydration though – 13% of runners in the Boston Marathon demonstrated evidence of hyponatraemia. Take a look at www.ssop.com.au/Factsheets/Nutrition/Hyponatraemia.pdf Also, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol during this time…and don’t forget to eat to replace glycogen stores that will aid in recovery.
Compression garments like Skins provide surface pressure to specific body parts to enhance circulation and deliver more oxygen to active muscles. Improved circulation helps eliminate lactic acid build-up and other metabolic wastes. The compression can work to limit injury caused by overextending muscles.
How long before you can head back to training is very subjective. If you felt good during the marathon you can be back into it after only a few days. Beware however, muscle soreness can actually worsen days after you’ve run, so respect your body and don’t overdo it.
Your body will take some time to recover from the ordeal of a marathon. It’s anecdotal, but as a general rule, allow at least one day for every mile run. During this time you may gradually increase your runs, but keep the intensity easy.
Reduce the risk of injury by modifying your activity for the first 5 – 7 days after your race. Low-impact exercise for 20 – 30 minutes is advisable. Walking, cycling or swimming are good alternatives.
Although you may feel like a long hot bath, this heat may increase the negative effects of micro-tearing that occurred in your muscles and tendons during the run. While only the most hard-core can handle an ice bath, go easy on the hot tap. Ice can also be applied to the sorest areas, apply for 10 – 20 minutes 24 – 48 hours after the race.
It is not uncommon for runners to feel depressed and un-interested in running after a marathon. Talk about your experiences with family and friends and recognise your achievement in running a marathon. It may also be helpful to try cross-training or join a club to get motivated again
Injury prevention is key both leading up to and recovering from a marathon. If you experience pain beyond muscle fatigue it’s worth coming in to see us to have it checked out.
Smug smiles, knowing nods, sharing war stories – you have run a marathon! Be proud of a huge achievement.
At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries. This handout was prepared by Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is intended as a general information service. Please note that the information provided is not intended as a substitute for advice from a registered physician or healthcare professional. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.
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At Sydney Sports and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy our highly qualified physiotherapists specialise in the assessment, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal injuries.