It’s time of London marathon this weekend, so I thought it would be great to share some marathon recovery tips. Over the summer there are several running events taking place around Europe which are very popular. Taking on a challenge to run a marathon is a big commitment and preparation is key for a successful run. This is both a mental and physical challenge and especially if you are a first timer. It can be emotional or even life changing experience. 

MARATHON PREPARATION

If you are a regular runner you probably know your body already and what works for your marathon recovery. This helps a lot when planning your training, treatments and diet for the months and weeks prior to the run. When you are training for a marathon it would be good to have a coach. Their experience can guide you with personalised training programme. They can make sure you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins needed.  Check out my favourite healthy cooking books for recipe inspiration

Healthy cooking is helpful in marathon preparation

The coach’s experience  will help your performance and help you to  avoid any possible problems during the run. It will also prepare your body for the task, both psychologically and physically and support your recovery afterwards. It is also recommended to get regular massage treatments for muscle maintenance. The massage treatments will also help you to avoid injuries. 

WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS FOR SUCCESSFUL MARATHON

A long run like a marathon will push your body to its limits. You will undergo long term stress on your organs and body functions. The run is total of 26.2 miles (42km), average running time being about four and half hours. Some people choose to walk part of the journey and can take the whole day to finish the race. If you have trained and prepared for your run well it will improve your chances for a  successful finish.  Check the average running time for your age and gender

The weather conditions may have a huge impact on the run. One of the most common problems after the marathon are sunburn and dehydration. You will lose fluids when sweating and this can be a challenge, especially if the weather is hot. It is important to make sure you get enough fuel during the run to avoid total depletion. This is called “The Wall” or lack of energy. 

Average runner will need approximately 100 calories per hour to sustain the balance. Human body uses mainly glucose and fat for fuel. You should make sure you will have enough minerals, like magnesium, zinc, calcium and sodium in your diet. This will help to build strength and stamina. Your breakfast should be well balanced with slow burning carbohydrates and fluids.           

hydration-marathon-recovery
Keeping well hydrated is important to successful run
AFFECTS OF MARATHON RUN ON YOUR BODY

Marathon can also cause some anxiety and nervousness before the race. This may then increase your heart rate and blood-pressure prior to the run. Mental preparation is just as important as physical and meditation or yoga is a good practice to slow down the mind. Make sure you are using your normal running shoes for optimal comfort. During marathon you will be running on hard surface creating a high impact on your feet and legs. 

Most runners will suffer from blisters, damaged toe nails, muscle aches, stiffness, cramps, lactic acid build up and fatigue during and after the run. Find your own running rhythm and observe how your body is feeling. You may suffer from runny nose, dizziness, nausea or upset stomach during or after the race. It may take you several weeks to recover. 

Your muscles will be damaged and your immune system may be suppressed. it is more likely you may catch a cold in the immediate days and weeks after the marathon.  If you have any health conditions or if you are smoking this may have an impact on your run.  

THE FINISHING LINE

When you cross over the finishing line you have really won yourself and this accomplishment can be a euphoric high. You have achieved something most people will never be able to achieve. It is important for marathon recovery to slowly walk a few minutes after the run to let your body to calm down. After you have taken a breather you want to refuel and hydrate the body. Snack some nuts, cooked chicken or good quality bread to start your recovery. Lie down and put your feet up for a few moments if possible. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol for the next few days.   

MARATHON RECOVERY

There are some things you can do for marathon recovery. They will help your body to heal and recover. if you are a regular runner you probably know which tricks work best for you. It is recommended to take a long shower on the day, alternating hot and cold water to stimulate the tried muscles. Eat good quality proteins and carbohydrates and make sure you will get a good night sleep. 

It is important to get the body moving on the following day and some gentle exercise like walking or swimming will be beneficial. Movement will help your body in marathon recovery. Book in for a massage with your therapist to help with muscular aches and stiffness. It is also a great help with toxin build up, to reduce inflammation and will help you to relax and wind down. 

Yoga and meditation may help with marathon recovery

You can add some essential oils to your massage oil for extra help. Try marjoram sweet, rosemary, black pepper or lavender. You can also self massage some arnica salve, oil or gel on your legs in the evenings following the run. Arnica is well known natural remedy for tired, hard working body and can help with pain and swelling. It is a perfect oil to use for marathon recovery. If you do not get regular massages, try gentle massage or foot massage with some invigorating essential oils like fir or pine needle. Taking a bath with some epsom salts can also help your body to calm down and muscles to relax. 

GIVE YOUR BODY SOME TIME TO HEAL

Give your body some time and take it easy for the following few weeks, do yoga or pilates and short slow runs or walks until you start feeling normal again. Make sure you will give your body enough time for marathon recovery and rest. This will benefit you in the future and helps to avoid injuries and other problems. Use a foam roller and make sure you stretch gently and thoroughly every day. 

Make sure your diet is healthy with plenty of fruits, vegetables, high quality protein and carbohydrates to replenish the lost minerals and balance the body. When you will get a chance it would be good to meet up with your coach and talk through of any problems and potential issues or concerns. It is also helpful to talk about the experience and make a plan for the future runs. 

Remember to celebrate your achievement and know you firstly and most importantly compete with yourself and overcoming the mind and all the aches and pains in the body is a proof that anything can be achieved if we commit to it.