Recovery after a marathon is not only one of the most important aspects of running a marathon, but it’s also unfortunately one of the most undervalued. Let’s be honest—once you’ve finished the marathon, you just want to be done. You don’t want to think about what you need to do to reset your body so that you can resume training.
Take a shower!
After a marathon, your legs are full of muscle which, on the cellular level, are damaged and have millions of micro-tears. Having a shower immediately after running, alternating between hot and cold will aid in your recovery. The cold water causes vasoconstriction (the blood vessels close and get smaller) of the blood vessels in your legs. While the hot water causes vasodilation (the blood vessels open and get bigger). This oscillation between the vessels closing and opening helps rush oxygen-rich blood to your legs.
Following your contrast shower, it’s time to re-load. You can do this by enjoying a protein-rich meal. This will start to replenish all those body supplies that you have drained during your run. Following this it’s time to rest/sleep. A good undisturbed night sleep will work wonders for your body’s natural ability to recover. I’m sure after running 26.2 miles, you’ll have no trouble in sleeping – I know I wouldn’t.
Invest in your recovery
You’ve probably already invested over 3 months of your time into training for this big race, so it is important that you carry this on into your recovery. A massage is undoubtedly the most undervalued method of recovery, yet the most advantageous! In the final miles of a well-run marathon, there is undeniably a breakdown in your biomechanics (running technique). That breakdown means that you’re asking more of one muscle group or more of one side of your body than the other. Simply put, you’re likely asymmetric when you finish the marathon. Getting yourself booked in for a message/manual therapy by a qualified physical therapist can help you gain back that symmetry and take care of any little injuries you may have incurred during the race.
Here at Comfort Health