Male and female runners

3 Tips for Marathon Recovery

As marathon season comes to a close for the odd 2021 COVID-19 year, it is important for marathoners to learn how to recover properly.

Often, most runners run hundreds of miles and usually go through three pair of shoes during their training. By the time the marathon comes, there are many feelings of anxiety, excitement, and nervousness, whether it be your 1st or your 5th.

Here are three tips to reduce your recovery time and minimize soreness from your race.

1. Replenish Carbs, Protein, and Fat

Running long races depletes carbohydrates about 30-40 minutes into your race and the remainder of your race will burn protein and fat stores within your body. It will be important to replenish these components first due to the long-distance aspect of the marathon.

Consuming nuts (provided you have no allergies), avocados, eggs, and animal protein (if you are not a vegan/vegetarian) will help replenish and restore depleted storage of these proteins and fats to improve muscle recovery and to reduce soreness in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

2. Stretch Your Muscles

Over the course of your race, certain muscles will tighten, most notably in your quads, calves, hamstrings, and shoulders. These areas require stretching following your race to minimize Dependent Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This results from build up of lactic acid and other byproducts in your bloodstream from the repetitive nature of running for several hours.

Stretching these muscle groups and others for at least 30 seconds several times on each ride after your race can help your recovery. Usually after any workout, it is recommended to stretch for 15-20 minutes, but with a marathon, it is recommended to stretch for around 30-45 minutes due to the extensive strain placed on your muscles during this race.

3. Ice to Reduce Inflammation

Icing with multiple ice packs and/or an ice bath at your soonest convenience will decrease swelling, inflammation, and muscle tension from the race. Icing, although quite uncomfortable depending on the climate of the race you are running in, will benefit your recovery as it slows down circulation due the inflammation caused from running your marathon.

Because inflammation and pain are generally tied so closely to one another from running this distance, it is important to reduce inflammation as soon as possible to jumpstart your recovery so you don’t feel so sore and have difficulty walking the next day.

These tips do not change the fact that you are likely to experience some degree of soreness and discomfort from your marathon. However, they will ensure your recovery time is lessened (generally speaking 1-2 days than if you did nothing, which could take 4-6 days). Do this so you do not have to miss work (even if you work from home) and can hopefully resume other activities for the upcoming week ahead.

Good luck with your race and set some big goals for the 2022 running season.

Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP

Lincoln Park Chiropractic 2202 N. Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 248-2790

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