How to recover well after a marathon?
The recovery of a marathon is an essential step in a preparation plan that runners neglect all too often.
Unfortunately, if you do not prepare the recovery, you will increase the risk of injury, as well as the recovery time needed for your body ... and this is not necessarily good for your health.
Most often, runners who do not follow a good post-marathon recovery plan stagnate in their next performance, or suffer from symptoms of over-training.
Today we will give you the best ways to recover from a marathon. This article will talk about scientific evidence behind post-marathon fatigue, so you know what your body is going through, and you can prepare for optimal performance.
Then we will provide you with a post marathon recovery plan to help you recover in the best possible way. Discover all our recovery products
What happens to my body when I run a marathon?
Marathons are hard on the body, no question.
The muscles, hormones, tendons, cells and almost all physiological systems are pushed to the maximum during the test.
Whether you are a confirmed marathoner or a simple amateur, 42km is 42km. Your body is under tremendous physical strain and the stress you put on it during your preparation.
Here is a list of some of the physiological systems affected during a marathon as well as their recovery time.
Muscle pain and fatigue are the most obvious case of damage caused by the body's running on marathon distance.
A scientific study of the calf muscles of marathon runners concluded that intensive training and the marathon itself induce inflammation and necrosis of muscle fibers that dramatically alter power and muscle durability for 14 days after the marathon.
As a result, it will take your muscles about 2 weeks after the marathon to return to their full strength.
=> Cell damage
Cell damage after the marathon, which includes oxidative damage, increased creatinine kinase (CK) production - a marker that indicates skeletal and myocardial tissue damage, and increased myoglobin levels in the blood stream which often causes the appearance of blood in the urine).
One study concluded that CK damage persists more than 7 days after the marathon while another study confirmed the presence of myoglobin in the bloodstream 3-4 days after the race.
These two studies clearly indicate that the body needs at least 7-10 rest days after the marathon to fully recover from the cellular damage caused during the race.
These markers, along with a suppressed immune system, is the main reason why the optimal marathon recovery program avoids the over-training phenomenon the first 2-3 days.
=> Immune system
Post marathon, the immune system is highly tested, which increases the risk of getting colds and flu.
In addition, a weakened immune system is one of the main causes of overtraining. A recent study confirms that the immune system is compromised up to three days after the marathon and is a major factor in the over-training syndrome.
Therefore, it is essential that you rest as much as possible within three days of a marathon and concentrate on eating nutrient-dense and healthy foods.
Research clearly indicates that the marathon induces significant muscle, cell and immune system damage during 3 14 days after the race.
Therefore, it is essential that all marathon runners have a weekly 2-3 Marathon Recovery Protocol that focuses on rest and rejuvenation of these physiological systems. Discover all our recovery products
How to recover after running a marathon
We will describe a program of nutrition, rehabilitation, cross training and execution for the 3 weeks following a marathon. This rehabilitation plan will help you recover faster and return to training as quickly as possible.
=> Immediately after the race
The immediate post-race recovery protocol can be a bit difficult to plan ahead.
Focus your energy on nutrition and pre-race strategy. These points are just there to give you tips after the race.
- After crossing the finish line, try to get something warm on your back. You will probably get cold very quickly, and even if it will not help you recover, the warming will make you feel much better.
- Try to find something to eat. Bananas, recovery bars, the drinks recovery, the STICKS recovery , fruits and bread are all good options.
Many marathoners can not eat soon after finishing, wait a bit and eat when you get home.
- For the bravest of you, a cold bath will be very effective at recovery.
Fill the tub with ice and cold water and immerse your legs for 15 minutes. You do not need water that is too cold.
After your ice bath, you can take a nap or stroll to try to relax your legs.
At this point, you've done everything you can do for the day. Relax well.
=> 1-3 Days
Cross Training: None
Tips and tricks of recovery:
Dip your legs in a cold bath (and yes again!) During 10-15 and stretch well afterwards.
Eat fruits, carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates and protein will help repair muscle damage while fruits will give you a shot of vitamin C and antioxidants to help fight free radical damage and boost your immune system.
A light massage will help relax your muscles. Do not plan yet a deep tissue massage, just a gentle massage / effleurage or a gentle roll with the stick.
=> 4-7 Days
Training: One day, 2 to 4 km to the cool.
Two days later, an easy effort from 30 to 40 minutes. The focus is on the functioning of the blood flow to the legs, not on the construction of a physical conditioning.
Tips and tricks for recovery: Keep eating a healthy diet.
Now, this is the time when you can get a deep tissue massage if you have areas that really bother you or are injured.
Cold-warm contrasting bath of the lower body. To contrast the bath, take large trash bags and fill one with hot water (hot bath temperature) and the other with ice water (cold enough so that ice does not melt). Put your whole body in the cold. Hold for 5 minutes, then warm up for 5 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times, ending with cold. This helps to precipitate blood in and out of the area, which facilitates healing.
About an hour before bedtime, massage your legs with a stick or self-massager, then soak them in a warm bath with 3 cups of salt and 1 cup of baking soda for 10 at 15 minutes. After soaking, stretch yourself really well and relax.
=> 7-14 Days
Race: three or four days from 6 to 9 kms very easy.
Transverse training: optional - Three total sessions. A single session and two average effort sessions during 30 at 45 minutes.
=> 14-21 Days
Training: Start slowly rebuilding a complete run. Four to five sets of 4 to 8km with 4 x 20 seconds of walk after each race.
1 easy session, 1 average session and 1 session lasts from 40 to 50 minutes.
Note that it is much more important to ensure a good recovery so that you can train even better during your next race goal.
If you do not get enough, you'll just roll back your good workouts and put yourself on the verge of over-training.
Try not to plan a serious race until 6 weeks after your marathon.
We doubt that the desire will be there. However, your results will not be as good as they could be if you do not wait a few weeks and let your body rest properly. Discover all our recovery products
Patience is a virtue, and it will pay off in the end!