Recovery is one of the most important components to any training plan for longevity in the sport.
Take it seriously, it’s an integral part of the marathon process!
The marathon compromises your immune system and also many other important regulatory systems of your body. It causes significant muscle cell damage and skeletal strain. Cellular damage to tissues can last for up to 7-10 days post race measured by certain chemicals in the blood called creatinine kinase and myoglobin. These tissues repair themselves but time is the key ingredient to letting this repair process happen properly.
Don’t be a hero trying to get back to training too soon and think, ‘sure I feel grand’, it doesn’t work like that.
There is plenty of time to set focus on the shorter stuff again.
Unfortunately too many ignore this and fail to allow for sufficient recovery from the physical and mental stress they have just gone through.
It is very important to give the mind a break from the constant focus on the intense training program and from the overall stress.
It causes significant muscle cell damage and skeletal strain. Cellular damage to tissues can last for up to 7-10 days post race measured by certain chemicals in the blood called creatinine kinase and myoglobin. These tissues repair themselves but time is the key ingredient to letting this repair process happen properly.
The recovery process is very individual, there is no one size fits all!
The specifics of what, when, how long to recover for depend on the need of the individual runner. How long until the next race etc depends on the training history and experience of the runner and what’s next on the agenda.
There are a host of variables that can affect your recovery, such as the intensity of the race, your health, and the training season.
Our bodies are exceptionally robust and adaptable but respecting that they sometimes need a bit longer than we may want to or have been used to previously to fully recover is important especially if you were completed depleted.
It is trial and error to see what works for you and what doesn’t work for you being the determinants of how your recovery strategy will look.
Returning to run: for now, enjoy a period of low impact activity, maybe a few post race walks to
get the body moving again.
After a week, most people are returning to easy running.
A return to running too hard and too soon by runners fearing losing fitness or craving a run can result in injury further down the line and affect subsequent races.
2-4 weeks will see most runners back running consistently and progressing to full training as needed.
🔸️Eat well and maintain a sufficient protein to carbohydrate ratio and rehydrate as appropriate. This has a huge impact on your recovery and return to running. Following the marathon, your muscles are full of tiny microtears and these need to be repaired before your muscles can function at max capacity. To accelerate this repair, we need to keep protein synthesis elevated in the muscles.
The well earned post race and extensive training routine celebration drinks wont have dramatically affected our recovery.
Sleep is absolutely vital and perhaps the most underated recovery enhancer. You cannot foam roll or supplement your way out of poor sleeping habits.
🔸️See your physio and physical therapist if you have carried an injury or niggle beyond the usual aches and pains throughout your training journey and feels it needs investigating.
If you have been patched up just to get you through the marathon, it’s time to get it fixed now.
🔸️ Enjoy a sports massage a couple of days post marathon.
Take your rest days and learn to read your body. It is hard to argue with any of above recomendations but the tricky part is actually sticking with them. If you don’t, don’t expect cryosaunas and CBD oil to make up for it.