Long-Term Recovery after the Marathon
Recovery after the marathon is a long-term process and you should take it seriously. Otherwise, you could damage your muscles and continuously feel pain. To prevent that, consider the following advice and rest your body from the effort!
Days 1 – 3 after the Race
It is not a good idea to go running or do some cross training right after the race. Your body does not need to be pushed more to its limits. More relaxing will be in order by taking the 10 – 15 minutes hot baths with some light stretches afterwards.
Keep the healthy diet by eating a plenty of fruits, carbohydrates, and proteins. Proteins and carbs are an excellent choice for repairing the muscles, and the fruits will provide you with vitamins and antioxidants. The immune system of someone who just ran the marathon is usually weaker after a race. Therefore, vitamin C will help boost your system and keep the flu and colds at bay.
Who does not like a good massage? A marathon run is a perfect excuse to spoil yourself with a massage which will help loosen your muscles. A light massage like gentle effleurage massage will do your muscles wonders.
Days 4 – 7 after the Race
After all that rest, now it is time to get with the program again, but slowly! You can do a two to four miles run three days in a week and some cross training for the other two days. The idea is not to build the fitness, but to get the blood flowing to your legs. Therefore, 30 – 40 minutes of easy cross-training is all that you need.
The healthy diet needs to continue of course, and there is no reason to forget about the massages either. A deep tissue massage is great for those areas that are giving you problems or if you have an injury.
A great way to facilitate healing and get the blood rushing throughout the area is to give your lower body a contrast bath. It is done by filling a large trash can (or whatever else you can get your hands on that is broad enough to accommodate your lower body) with ice water, and another tub filled with hot water. Starting with the cold water, you hold your lower body in it for five minutes and then switch to the hot tub for another five minutes. You should repeat the process three times, ending in the cold can.
A proper home remedy for the leg muscles is adding three cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and a cup of baking soda. A good soak of 10 to 15 minutes will do together with a self-massage.
Days 7 – 14 after the Race
For the next week, you can add three to four days of running to your schedule. An easy run of four to six miles is enough. If you like the cross-training, you can add three easy to medium sessions of 45 minutes each.
Days 14 – 21 after the Race
Now it is time to ease yourself into full training. One run of up to eight miles, four to five times a week will help you get into shape again. After each run, you can take the 4,20-second strides. Cross training that consists of one easy, one medium and one hard session, 50 minutes each, can be implemented in your training process for the week.
Training cannot be successful if you did not recover correctly, so do not be scared of losing any running fitness while recovering. As soon as you start the training process again, it might only take you up to three weeks to get back into the same shape. Be kind to your body during the recovery process, and it will pay you back in the next race.