Post Marathon Recovery Tips- Part 2 by Ania Gibb

Dec 21, 2018 | Fitness

Recovery:

This is one of the most important aspects of running a marathon. You just want the marathon to be done so you can go and celebrate but recovery is extremely important. Your muscles experience millions of micro-tears and a huge build up of lactic acid. You need time for your body to repair itself. Here are some tips to help your body recuperate:

1. Keep moving and Stretch.

The worst thing you can do is to stop moving. Once you cross that finish line keep walking. When you finish a marathon the first thing you want to do is stop and sit down. Try to avoid this. Carry on walking slowly for at least 5-10 minutes, Then stop to stretch. This will make a huge different to how you feel for the duration of the week. As soon as you stop, you’ll cramp up and will take forever for you to get back onto your feet.

2. Refuel with Protein.

Protein is a necessity for post-marathon recovery. It helps speed up muscles repair and reduces the response from the stress hormone cortisol. It also encourages glycogen replacement. You need to make sure you eat within 30 minutes of finishing your marathon, even if it’s a protein bar. Dairy and Meat are packed full of protein but with Veganism becoming extremely popular this past year for athletes, you’ll find loads of protein sourced foods to choose from.

3. Hydrate with electrolytes.

You will have lost a lot of electrolytes from sweating. Potassium and sodium regulate your body’s water balance whilst running and help your cells to maintain the right amount. The majority of sport-based drinks contain electrolytes, the key one being Lucozade. I sip these during the marathon as well as after to avoid dehydration that can cause sickness and even fainting. When I stepped over the finishing line at Boston 2017 I collapsed from severe dehydration, which caused severe cramp. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced and never want to suffer like that again.

4. Ice bath or Epsom salts bath.

I’ve never personally had an ice bath but I know a lot of runners that swear by them. I’m too much of a wimp to try! So I stick with my beloved Epsom salts bath. Ice baths reduces swelling, constrict blood vessels and tissue breakdown, as well as flushing out toxins. Epsom salts does pretty much exactly the same by flushing out waste, works as an anti-inflammatory and brings blood flow back to the legs. This is vital for muscle recovery and repair.

 

5. Celebrate, Relax and Sleep.

All those months of hard work are over. You’ve accomplished a massive achievement and should take the week to celebrate. Show off your medal and be someone that people can aspire to. This is your week to feel like a superstar. Just remember to relax and catch up on your sleep. Your body need to repair itself, so take as long as you need. Perhaps take the next day off work and just spend the day sleeping, walking, stretching and chilling out. Have some me time. Every individual will recover differently depending on fitness level. My first ever marathon took me a whole week! Oh the pain, the blisters and stairs became the enemy. Nowadays I feel fine the next day with only a few niggles. Shows what the right training and recovery can really do. Although… I do still take the next day off so I can celebrate with a few drinks!!

I hope my top tips help you with your journey on becoming a marathon runner!!

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