Congratulations! If you’ve completed the London Marathon then you’ve done something truly impressive and should be really proud of yourself.
The blood, sweat and tears of training followed by race day itself put great strain on your body, but we know that crossing that finish line makes it all worthwhile.
So, what next? Your body needs some serious TLC to pull through its recovery period and get you back in action as soon as possible. Here are some top marathon recovery tips from our expert physiotherapists:
Tip 1 – Hot and Cold
There’s nothing quite like that first post-marathon shower! Make the most of it by alternating water temperature on your legs, switching between hot and cold every minute for a total of 10 to 15 minutes to enjoy optimum results.
Why it works: Cold water causes blood vessels to contract, while hot water helps them to dilate. Encouraging vessels to alternate between these two states generates a much-needed rush of oxygen-rich blood to your legs.
Tip 2 – Eat Smart
During the week following race day, choose meals that are high in protein, carbs and vitamins, especially vitamin C. Make fruit and veggies your new best friends as they are naturally bursting with goodness and easy to incorporate into your daily intake.
Why it works: Protein and carbs help to repair any micro-tears in your muscles caused by intense physical activity, while vitamins re-energise your body and boost your immune system. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too!
Tip 3 – Sleep On It
After 26 miles you’ll need more than 40 winks so your first full night of sleep after the race should be no problem but try to also factor in regular daytime naps of 20 to 40 minutes each throughout the following week.
Why it works: Put simply, sleep is your body’s favourite state in which to recharge and repair everything from daily wear and tear to more intense damage caused by a feat as physically demanding as a marathon. This deceptively powerful recovery tool is not to be underestimated, as regular cat naps could genuinely help your body to recover faster.
Tip 4 – Get Moving
In the days immediately following a marathon, runners are often tempted to lay on the sofa and stay put, due to aches and pains. However, appealing this may seem, resist temptation and be kind to your body with a combination of quality sleep (see our tips above) and very, very gentle exercise for the week following your race.
Why It works: Light exercise will get the blood in your muscles moving and help to relieve stiffness. A word of warning though – don’t get carried away, as doing too much too soon could delay recovery. Avoid long walks and running for a full week after the marathon, instead focusing on 15 to 20 minutes of walking or very light jogging and stretching.
Tip 5 – Mix It Up
We recommend that before returning to a running regime you first try cross training, which features a variety of exercises from swimming and biking to balance and strength training.
Why it works: Using forms of exercise like swimming, a low impact activity which flushes toxins thanks to water pressure, will increase blood flow in your body, promote recovery and prepare the musculoskeletal system for your return to running without introducing impact too soon.
Tip 6 – Ask The Experts
Book an appointment at any of Capital Physio’s multiple locations across London and UK to receive a personalised pain management control program or treatment suited to your post-marathon needs. We understand your passion for an active life and every expert physiotherapist in our network is ready to help clients get back to their very best as soon as possible.
Why it works: Physiotherapy can support your recovery in a wide variety of ways. Treatments may include releasing built up tension in your muscles and tendons, increasing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your legs, identifying and treating any minor injuries and correcting muscle imbalances caused by overuse and exhaustion. You’ll also have the peace of mind that an expert has provided a safe plan of action to get you up and (literally!) running again.
We hope these tips have helped you feel more confident about your own marathon recovery programme. Click here to find your nearest Capital Physio clinic and book an appointment with one of our expert practitioners. Any questions? Contact our friendly Holborn HQ by calling 033 0333 0435 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a social butterfly, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where you can share your proud marathon medal photos with us – we’d love to see them!