After months of training, you’ve finally done it – you’ve crossed the finish line, collected your medal, and completed your marathon. Congratulations! But what next?! Well, we put this question to Coach Rob – We Run Coach for Liverpool and a veteran of a whopping 84 marathons, for his 4 top tips for a smooth marathon recovery.
Tip #1 – Don’t Sit Down!
It’s tempting having completed 26.2 miles to simply collapse on the floor and congratulate yourself on your endeavours. This is possibly the worst thing that you can do as it will lead to cramp which will make recovery even more difficult. It is important to keep mobile after a marathon whilst your muscles gradually contract back to their normal state.
Tip #2 – Eat and Drink
Make sure that you take on board fluids and electrolytes to start the rehydration and recovery process. Small sips and often is better than gulping down huge quantities of fluid. It’s also important to take on board some nutrition post marathon. Evidence indicates that consuming foods/fluids with carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of exercise promotes the recovery process in the muscles.
Tip #3 – The Following Day
The day after a marathon it’s important to keep mobile and active to try and reduce muscular fatigue and what is commonly called “DOMS” (delayed onset muscle soreness). Personally, I like to run an easy 5k to stimulate the blood flow around the body, get the muscles and joints moving and flush out some of the lactate that has accumulated. This is a fantastic way of delaying the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Fair warning – your friends and family might think you’re mad if you tell them you’re off for a gentle 5k the day after running a marathon, but it works really well for me!
Tip #4 – Beat the Monday Blues
Most marathons take place on a Sunday and runners experience a high during and after the event due to the endorphins released in the brain and central nervous system. Unfortunately, a couple of days afterwards those endorphins return to normal and it is very common to experience the runner’s low. Don’t panic, this is very common! It also provides a perfect opportunity to look ahead and pick your next event or challenge to give your running a renewed focus.