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Post-marathon recovery tips

by Chloe Best

With the London Marathon 2017 just days away, it's time to start resting and fuelling your body in preparation for the challenge of running 26.2 miles through the capital. It's also important to think about how you're going to recover after the event, whether it's booking a sports massage or planning a post-race celebratory meal. Find out how to rest and refuel after the marathon with these top tips from the experts at DW Fitness

1. Enjoy it! Sometimes you forget just how amazing running a marathon is, so take the time to mentally soak up the finish line as you run past and realise that you've done it!

2. Keep moving: The last thing you want to do is carry on, but your muscles will be much more sore if you suddenly stop moving. Lightly jog and walk around for at least 15 minutes after the race to slowly ease your body out of marathon mode and reduce the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.

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Find out how to recover after the marathon with these training tips 

3. Refuel: Eating may be the last thing on your mind after all that exercise, but it's crucial to consume something around 30 minutes after the race to keep your blood sugar levels up, replenish lost glycogen and repair damaged muscles. Opt for a carbohydrate, such as a banana, and some nuts or an energy bar for protein.

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4. Keep warm: Running a marathon is tough on your body, even though you'll be sweating you'll soon drop down to a normal temperature post race – sometimes you will feel colder than normal due to the energy you've lost. Change into soft, warm clothes after the race to keep warm and comfortable.

5. Treat any minor injuries: Tend to any minor injuries you may have sustained during the race such as blisters, chafing or cuts.

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It is important to refuel after your marathon

6. Reward yourself: Four hours after completing the race you will be starving, which means it's the perfect opportunity to enjoy all of the food that you forbid yourself from eating during training. Your body will still expend energy after the race so you won't need to worry about consuming high levels of calories and fat.

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7. Elevate your legs: Your feet and legs will be feeling an immense amount of pressure after a marathon, so take the opportunity to lay down for 15 minutes and elevate your feet by propping them up with cushions or a stool.

8. Foam roll: Wait at least six hours after the race to complete the dreaded foam roll. While this may be uncomfortable, foam rolling helps to stretch out your muscles and avoiding this step will cause you much greater pain the next day.

9. Take a cold bath: Soaking in a cold bath around five hours after the race can help to reduce the inflammation in your muscles. If you can't face the cold water, then compression tights will also help to reduce this and prevent injury.

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The London Marathon takes place in the captial on Sunday

10. Massage: Wait at least 24 hours before you have a massage, this will help to relieve the tension from sore muscles and aid a speedier recovery. If it isn't possible to see a professional you can always gently massage your legs and arms yourself.

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11. Sleep: Once again, sleep is vital for recovery. Make sure you get a full eight hours or more if you need it. Be sure to keep plenty of water by the bed so you can replenish your fluids in the night, you might even want to include a small snack.

12. Keep active: It's natural to be sore, but don't let that feeling stop you from moving around in the days after your race. Gentle activity, such as walking and swimming, is the best way to help your muscles recover and get back to normal.

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