Congratulations to all those who participated in the Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival this past weekend. Runners of all ages and abilities came together to push their limits and achieve personal goals. The atmosphere was electric, with crowds lining the streets to cheer on the runners and provide much-needed encouragement. It was truly a day of triumph and inspiration for everyone involved.
Whether you’re completing the marathon, half-marathon, the 10km or the 5km event, participating in the Melbourne Marathon is an outstanding achievement and challenge for all participants. Once you’ve completed your race, it is essential to think about how to manage your body and provide yourself with the best post-race recovery strategies.
Completing a running event can be a significant challenge for the body, and can push even the fittest and best-prepared participants to the limits. In the same way that someone must train and prepare for an event, it is essential to put some thought and time into their recovery post-race.
Given the challenge of a long-distance run, the body can take some time to fully recover and return to normal function. However, ensuring this process is as effective as possible can help prevent the development of injuries post-race or when returning to running, and assist in maintaining performance in running and other activities.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when planning your recovery in the days and weeks post-race:
In the days after the event, you should continue some level of tolerable and comfortable movement to prevent excessive muscle soreness and stiffness. Examples may include short walks, swimming or cycling. Importantly, try to do something you enjoy!
Some participants find that gentle stretching of leg muscles can help in the days after an event to regain mobility and reduce muscle soreness. Targeted muscle groups may include calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteal muscles and adductors. Alternatively, foam rolling or massage on these muscles can also be helpful.
While nutrition and hydration are essential during the race, given the amount of energy and fluid used, it is important to continue drinking plenty of water and consume a balanced diet in the days after a race to replenish lost fluid and nutrients. After completing a race, athletes may benefit from consuming carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes to enhance recovery. Ideas for post-race nutrition include smoothies, bread-based products and bananas.
Getting sufficient sleep is vital for multiple aspects of health, and this applies even more after a marathon, given the high levels of fatigue participants can experience post-race. While adults are generally recommended to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night, for athletes this may be closer to 8-10 hours a night to allow for best recovery.
When you eventually feel ready to return to running, it is essential to return to appropriate levels gradually. It may take athletes between 2-4 weeks to fully recover from a marathon, and any initial runs should be completed at a comfortable pace and manageable distance. Any increase in distance or intensity should be based on tolerance and should not cause excessive muscle soreness.
Finally, if you’ve picked up any soreness or niggles, our team of skilled physiotherapists and myotherapists can provide the necessary help to alleviate your pain. To see a complete list of the services we provide, click here.
If you have any questions, contact our friendly reception staff at 9078 8434 or book your appointment through our online booking system Jane.
This blog was written by Christopher Lawry, Senior Physiotherapist.
Published October 16, 2023
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