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Tips on recovering after running a marathon

Posted by George Parker on
Tips on recovering after running a marathon

Congratulations on running a marathon! It's something that less than 1% of the population will ever do, and that's quite an accomplishment! It also means you are probably hurting a lot, and you can do things to ease the discomfort.

First, the better you train, the less you will hurt after running a marathon. You may not want to hear this, but it is true. Do your workouts, and do your long runs and strenuous efforts. These workouts are designed to prepare your body for the incredible stress of running a marathon.

Second, eat protein and hydrate within 30 minutes of finishing your race. There is a magic 30-minute window after running a race (or a hard workout) where your cells are hypersensitive to absorbing nutrients from food. Try to consume protein to give your cell the building blocks to repair the muscles damaged during the race.

Ice Bath
Third, take an ice bath. You're going to want to take a hot shower after running a marathon. Instead, it would be best if you took an ice bath. Coldwater is fine --- you don't have to dump buckets of ice into the bathtub. The ice bath will help flush lactic acid from your legs and reduce inflammation. Ten minutes of an ice bath will help tremendously on your level of soreness in the days following the marathon.

Get Up
Finally, keep moving the day of the marathon. You will be tired, but you shouldn't lay around all day -- even though you deserve it! Instead, get up and walk around every 30 minutes. Walking will keep the blood flowing to your legs to help them repair themselves.

Check out the video below (or transcript) for more in-depth information on each topic.

Best wishes chasing your running goals,


How to recover after running a marathon? I just finished running the California International Marathon, and I hurt, my legs hurt, it hurts to walk down stairs, it hurts the sit up, it just hurts. But there are a few things that you can do to make the hurt a little less in the days after the marathon.

Kind of three buckets of this.

The first one is, and you may not want to hear this, but it comes down to how you train. If you train your body to run a marathon, you did the long runs, you did the mileage you did the intensity, you did the train the hills etc, you're going to be in better shape, because it will be less of a shock to your system. The better you train for the shock of the event, the better your body's going to adapt and handle to it. I

Number two, what you do after the marathon, those couple hours after the marathon is critical. When you're done running the marathon and you make it back to your hotel, you want to make sure you get nutrients back into your body, you have just completely destroyed your leg muscles, and a need to rebuild themselves. And what they need to rebuild is protein. Those are the building blocks of muscles. And so if possible, within kind of that 30 minutes or one hour window after you run or after you exercise in general, you want to increase your protein intake along with carbohydrates, but really increase your protein intake and give your body what it needs to repair muscles that's critical. Get your protein, get your carbs, make sure you're hydrating. Don't forget to eat after you run that marathon and try to do it in that magic window where your body can absorb nutrients, that's going to help you repair the muscle so much better than if you don't eat until two to three hours later.

Next, when you get back to your hotel or house, take an ice bath. It doesn't need to be buckets of ice in there cooling it down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything with a water is like 55 degrees, which is cold to the touch. So just turn it on cold fill up your bathtub, and hop in there for 10 minutes 10 to 15 minutes, that's going to do wonders in your recovery process, it is going to flush the lactic acid out of your legs. It's going to constrict the blood vessels, it's going to get the circulation going into a lot of things to help promote recovering your muscles with a quick 10 to 15 minute ice bath, it may be the last thing you want to go do after you run a race, you want to take a hot shower, take the ice bath, you're going to get a lot of advantages from it, take your hot shower later. But if you do that, your legs are going to feel so much better the next day.

Fourth, you can't just sit around all day after running the marathon, what you need to do, is maybe every 30 minutes, get up and just kind of walk around for like five minutes you you want to keep your your legs moving to make sure the lactic acid is flushed out and to keep the circulation the blood which is carrying the nutrients that you need to your legs. And so you don't want to sit around all day, you want to get up every 30 minutes, just kind of walk around for a little bit and you get back down again, you may not want to go do if you do those things it's going to help.

In summary, if you train well, and you eat after you run, you take your ice bath and you stay moving throughout that day, when you wake up the next day, you're still going to hurt. There's not much you can do about it's just a painful activity a marathon, but the hurt will be a lot less. And it won't last for as many days afterwards. If you do some of those tips, you're going to have a day or two after the marathon or your quad you're still going to be sore, you're going to be still popping so piping and have a hard time walking down the stairs. That's just part of the process. It shouldn't last a week, though, maybe the last one or two days. And it won't be this as severe if you don't do anything at all.

Congratulations on running your marathon that is quite an achievement that less than 1% of the population will ever do. And I hope your recovery process goes just as well.

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