Its a week to go!! All those hours of training are about to pay off. At this stage you should be carb loading and getting your tapering just about right with shorter runs. Today’s article is not going to focus on the race itself, but rather the days and weeks following the Dublin Marathon.
For those of us who have run a few marathons before, we remember the struggles, the pains, the aches, the joy, the celebrations. We remember it all.
Once you cross the line
You crossed the finish line, you’ve DONE IT – now the marathon recovery begins. After the selfies, hugs, and Instagram moments are all said and done, the first things to do is to throw on dry, warm clothes. The one mistake many marathon runners make is soaking up too much of the day while still in your race gear. Get the bag drop, and get your clothes, and get warm!! On your way, you’ll likely have been handed a bottle of water, and a banana, and your goodie bag. The banana is the perfect post-race snack.
You’ve got the medal, you’ve got the clothes, and you’ve got your towel. All around Merrion Square (near the finish line) there are fantastic doors and steps where you can start to stretch out, and free up your muscles. You’ve been on your feet for between three to five hours, and so it is important to gradually cool the muscles and keep them warm as long as possible. If you can tolerate a bit of deep heat, that will also help with the process. Word of warning, there is such a thing as too much deep heat… speaking from personal experience…
The hours post Dublin Marathon
You have stretched, you’ve cooled down, but this is only the start. The stress your body has been under during the marathon means your immune system is very low. You should look after yourself the same way you would if you had a cold or a flu. Eat a wholesome meal which is carb rich, and drink plenty of fluids (I mean water, not beer..) You also want to try and keep moving and walking around if possible, even after your stretch. Anything to help promote blood flow around the body will help you later in the day and to get a head-start on your recovery. If you are meeting friends after the race, walking for 30 minutes before you get a bus or taxi will be worth its weight in gold when you look to the next hours and days.
Protein drinks are great post race. From Kinetica, to Lidl and a whole host of brands in between, these ready made bottles of creamy goodness actually work wonders. There are also alternatives out there for people who are lactose intolerant and vegan, so be sure to do your research!
When you do get home, a nice long shower or batch to wash the sweat and salts off your skin is vital. If you can tolerate it, try to vary the temperature of the water between hot and cold.
The key thing post race is MODERATION. From what you eat, to what you drink, to how you celebrate afterwards, the key thing is don’t over do it.
The night time is when you get to take stock of everything from the little niggles you’ve picked up, to those amazing blisters, to the lost but not forgotten toenails. There will be war wounds, but also potential to keep the recovery going. Keep your legs raised and if you can, keep moving and walking around as well to keep the blood flowing. The night will be most likely restless, so ensure you have your usual remedies at the ready. A hot water bottle and more will help, but try to sleep with your legs slightly elevated.
The days that follow
Ah yes, the post marathon waddle. This is where the guts and glory shine through. The aches and pains mean going down a stairs can be torture. Your legs won’t want to work, but you must fight the agony regardless. As with all things, keep moving regardless. Try walk for 30-45 minutes to get the blood flowing. It’ll be tough, but trust me, this works! Many people will have a swimming pool near which is great, but for the majority who don’t, a good long walk does the trick. Keep drinking plenty of fluids, and eating good food. Your immune system is still very low so looking after yourself now is going to prevent any illness setting in.
We will also be launching a Pilate for Runners program the day before the Dublin Marathon, so be sure to check that out to get the best recovery possible.
The next adventure?
Who are we kidding, within the next week after the marathon, you’re going to be looking for your next race. Now that you’re armed with the information on how to recover from a marathon, all that’s missing is planning your next one and to have some fun finding the right gear for your next challenge, like the perfect marathon shoe to fly through those 42.2km on clouds.
With runners of all levels, for those of you who will run your first marathon or race of any distance for that matter, the week before the marathon should be used to plan your next race, your next challenge. You will find the incredible high after the race will fade and having another race to aim towards will refocus the mind and maintain that runners high.
There are some great events around the country in the weeks that follow the marathon. The Clontart Half Marathon takes place in a couple of weeks, and your marathon fitness can be used to experience another great race in Dublin
Have you plans for after your marathon? How is your race preparation going? If you have any questions, be sure to get in touch.