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What's the best way to recover after a marathon?

As a follow on from our previous blog post, we'd thought it would be a good idea to investigate the best ways to recover after a long distance event such as, the London Marathon. Both marathon and endurance training take a huge amount of time and effort, yet many people still fail to realise that what you do in the days following a marathon, is just as important as what you do beforehand.

Competing in a long distance event such as a marathon or Ironman places enormous demands and stresses on the body. This can lead to a depletion in nutrition and energy levels which can cause dehydration, damaged muscle tissue and can also make you very susceptible to injury and infection after the race. Unfortunately as we are all very different, there’s no exact formula for calculating how long your body will take to recover. We can however take certain steps to try and speed up the process.

Research and past experience suggests that nutrition, re-hydrating, relaxation and massage all play a key role in the recovery process. Eating lots of fruit, carbs and protein in the days succeeding the event is the best way to refuel the body. Carbohydrates and protein will help repair the muscle damage while eating fruit will give you a much needed boost of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Many runners decide to get a deep tissue, sports massage after a long distance event. If however you don’t regularly get massages or you’re not used to them, it might be worth opting to get a very light massage. A light massage will help loosen your muscles if you're feeling fatigued. If you can't book in with a masseur, you can do this yourself at home using a foam roller, massage stick or massage balls.

If you're thinking about exercising in the days after the race, start with short walk. A steady 10/15 minute walk will help your legs to start to recover, without putting your body under too much strain. After a few days you can start to build up to a gentle jog or low intensity running. Don't try to push yourself to go too far or too fast. At this stage of your recovery pushing your body could result in an injury and a longer time in the medical room.

Thanks for reading and we hope you have enjoyed learning our top post-race recovery tips.

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