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Keep on running: 5 post marathon recovery tips

The London Marathon is fast approaching and thousands of people across the UK will be desperately squeezing in those extra few miles of training to ensure they are ready for the big race.

But what should you do after the event to ensure your body fully recovers? Well we’ve enlisted the help of personal trainer and fitness coach James Crossley (EX – Gladiator HUNTER) to ensure you are not plagued with soreness in the days after the epic run.

Here James tells you how to deal with the most common post-marathon ailments, how to combat the blues and, of course, offers some very useful advice on when and how to resume running.

1.) Post Race Recovery -The work is done but the elation can easily mask the pain. Get warm quickly so make sure you have warm clothes to hand near the finish line also some easy to eat food, you may not initially be hungry so bananas or simple to eat snacks. Get hydrated with water or an electrolyte solution like gatorade, keep sipping as and don’t just rely on thirst. Once home eat a hearty carbohydrate and protein rich meal. This will help repair the muscle damage and get your energy levels back up.

2.) Ice Bath -Exposure to cold helps to combat the small tears in muscle fibres and resultant soreness caused by the marathon. The ice bath will flush waste products and reduce swelling ,tissue breakdown and inflammation.

Fill the tub with ice and cold water and submerge your lower body for 15 minutes, 55 degrees is optimal, but anything colder than 65 degrees will do. If you don’t have a bath go with a lower body contrast shower, 1 minute cold water then one minute warm water do this for 10-12 minutes.

3.) Massage – Light massage or rolling will help loosen tired muscles, don’t go to heavy as the legs may have some damage so will not cope well with harsh pressure. Also add in some very gentle stretches.

4.) Hot Bath – Initially a hot bath is not recommended post marathon as your joints and muscles are inflamed. If you put heat on them, the blood flow to those areas will increase, which can make them even more inflamed.

But after a day or so once you start to feel better an Epsom salt bath would be recommended . About an hour before bed run a warm bath with 3 cups epsom salts and soak for 20 minutes. After the soak a light stretch and relax.

5.) Quality sleep – Initially the night after the marathon it may prove tricky to sleep. Lots of aches and pains plus the adrenalin of the day. Try to relax your mind and do some deep breathing exercises , If you are a novice runner it may be worth taking the next day off work to catch some extra zzzz, things will get better but it can take a few days.

James Crossley
James Crossley

James Crossley rose to fame as Hunter on the hit ITV television show Gladiator. He was also a qualified trainer for 15 years, educating clients on health, fitness and nutrition. James has just launched a Personal Training App, PTin1, and now specialises in muscle gain and fat loss.

Main image above credit: richard