Good luck to all those running the London Marathon this weekend!
I’m often asked what are the best things to do to recover. Here’s a couple of tips:
Don’t just stop once you have finish. By all means get your medal and take a Selfie or two but then continue to walk. Let your heart rate and circulation recover gradually so that all the lactic acids can be flushed out of the muscles. Walk for at least 10-15 minutes to let your whole body calm down.
After about 30 minutes think about having a small snack. Easy to digest carbohydrate and protein based calories are best right after the race. This will replenish the muscle glycogen, help to normalize your blood sugar levels and get your body harnessed into repairing those muscles. Eat something like a Natural yogurt based fruit smoothie, a sandwich with lean meats, eggs, or low-fat cheese or Greek yogurt with granola and mixed berries. Apparently 20 grams of protein is the magic number needed to repair the muscle damage.
Keep snacking throughout the day thinking 75% carbs 25% protein and save your celebration meal for the evening. Don’t forget to make sure you rehydrate as well. Energy drinks are okay after the run in the heat or soup if it was cold, but don’t forget to sip fluids all day to make sure you fully rehydrate.
Have a soak in a cold bath initially to help keep the inflammation down if you want. Or a hot bath later – one of my favourite recommendations is an Epsom salt bath with mustard, wintergreen and rosemary to help speed up the recovery. Others swear by compression tights to get you back on your feet quickly.
Sitting with your legs up the wall will also refresh your circulation and aid in the reduction of inflammation.
Leave the stretching or foam rolling for at least 6 hours to give your muscles time to replenish themselves and at least 24 hours before you have a massage. And mostly give your body time before you start to run again. Have a massage and do some light walking or yoga for a day or two before you strap on those trainers. Don’t forget the roads aren’t going anywhere but it you don’t recover fully an injury could set you back far longer than just a day or two.