Organic Runner Mom

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Post Marathon Recovery Tips

26.2 miles later. It’s time to recover from a marathon!

Tips for Marathon Recovery

Tips for Marathon Recovery

I am three weeks out from the North Face Endurance Challenge trail marathon in Utah (yes, that’s 26.2 miles at a high altitude on trails) and I am still feeling fatigued. Part of my issue with recovering from the trail marathon is that I not only did I race an Olympic Distance Triathlon two weeks before but I also ran the Maine Half Marathon the weekend after returning from Utah. All of my races went extremely well all things considered however now I am rundown and need to give my body time to recover. The great thing is that I don’t have any other races planned at this point and I plan to take some time to add in some additional cross training and to get back in the pool and on my bike.

But what are some other things that you should focus on to recover after a marathon? Why does your body need more time to recover after a marathon?

The importance of recovery after a marathon.

  • To prevent injury. Your body may have minor damage to connective tissue and even at the cellular level after running a long distance.
  • To allow your immune system to bounce back. After running a marathon your immune system is weakened making you susceptible to colds and other illness.
  • Glycogen stores are depleted after a marathon and need to be replenished.
  • You need to allow your body time to rest to prevent long-term fatigue.

Post Marathon Recovery Tips

  • Don’t overdo it! The temptation is there to get right back out there and to keep going hard. Your body will thank you if you give it a little bit of rest but make sure that it is active recovery. Take some time to go for a walk or head out on your bike for a short spin and then slowly add easy aerobic running back into the mix. Active recovery is the way to go to help flush the lactic acid out of your muscles.
  • Eat. Rest. Repeat.  Fill your body with healthy and nutritious foods to replenish what was lost when you were out there crushing your marathon goal.
  • Give your mind a break. After racing a marathon if you try to run your best or fastest race too soon you may be discouraged by slower times because you have not allowed your body enough time to recover.
  • Remember to keep your body hydrated, this will help you bounce back more quickly from muscle soreness.
  • Sleep more. Sleep is essential for giving your muscles the time that they need to recover.
  • Become best friends with your foam roller. Use the foam roller to work out any muscle soreness or tightness after working out.
  • Take time to stretch, and if you are like most runners I know that you don’t stretch enough. So just do it, please?

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, tips provided here have been gained through my own running experiences and working with coaches.

What are some of your best tips for recovering after a marathon? Please share in the comments.

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5 responses

5 responses

  1. Post-race recovery is so important. Oftentimes the high of finishing a strong race tempts runners into jumping back in too soon without properly recovering. I typically prescribe a three-week recovery period for myself and the athletes I coach after a marathon. I avoid doing difficult strength training during that period and do all easy running (no speed or tempo paced work) so my/our body can truly rest and recover. I keep my weekend runs very low in mileage, and my weekly mileage low too. I love a good sports massage several days after a race once my body has cycled out some of the soreness. Thanks for sharing your great tips! xo

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