How I recovered from my Marathon

They say that generally it takes the body 3-4 weeks to recover fully from running 26 miles, 365 yards – adequate recovery is a must. I thought it maybe useful to write a little about the days after a Marathon for me, so below, I’m going to detail what I did to ease the tightness and promote quicker recovery post marathon…

The finish line, no better feeling!

My schedule is probably a little different from the average person with my regular classes and generally pretty active week so please do take with a pinch of salt!  Rest is the most important recovery tool – quality sleep, minimal intensive exercise, re fuel with good nutrition and rehydrate.

When I finished the Bournemouth Marathon, my (almost) first thought was about recovery, there is nothing worse than the aching, a battered body kind of feeling that often hits you –  typically after completing a Marathon. How can I minimize this?

First of all, once I finished the race, my body was a little all over the place, legs a bit like jelly, tight quads… (in fact most of my body one way or another), exhausted as you probably can imagine. So I sat down for 10 minutes with a bottle of water, electrolytes and a banana  – this picked me up quickly. I was well aware that sitting down for too long wasn’t going to do me any favours so I started to move…

I then spent a good 20 minutes squatting, lunging, twisting turning, moving in all kinds of planes of motion, paying attention to particular areas of tightness. Running forwards for 4 hours is very repetitive so it’s good to then think about counter acting this – open out the hip flexors with some mobility and think of the opposite movements if you like, for example, see images below: (**Please note, these are exercises I use that work well for me, I wouldn’t recommend jumping into these exercises if you have never done them. Little by little, work your mobility**)! Also, check out my first video on my new YouTube channel Move With Ben, it’s a Dynamic Movement Session , this will give you an idea of some of the exercises I use.



Once I had done this, I then worked on some assisted stretching , the idea is to hold a longer stretch and really focus on the breath to also relax the body. This will help with recovery and maintain flexibility – deep, controlled, relaxed breathing is the key to a good assisted stretch (or any stretching/ yoga in general for that matter).
We then wondered down to the beach, top off and went into the sea (albeit for probably less than 5 mins) – freshened the legs up and then did some strides to open out the legs, more mobility work before the 2 hour drive home.

I got home and guess what.. Legs were a little heavy – so I repeated the work I had done for 10 minutes or so with a foam roller also to help. Following this, I was going to have  cold bath, however I decided to go for a nice warm bath plus re fuelled with a big Dominoes Pizza, what else!

From experience, I knew that having done a Marathon, generally with the other Marathons, my sleep was a little broken that night, wake up regularly and up early – maybe a mix of being on a high and an over tired body. So I decided to stick to my normal schedule of putting on an early morning weighted session at The Body Coach HQ, 7am start and a 550am train. Was good to get up and get moving, more mobility work, foam rolling, lacrosse ball – I made sure that I used the stairs throughout the day rather than avoid them!

Lunch time on the Monday and I teach a ride (spinning class) at Digme Fitness in Richmond, I kept this also – for the same reasons, I knew that the cycle would do me good and I eased off more than I would during a normal class. Kept the legs flowing and after the 45 minutes I was back to the BCHQ, did some bits and pieces to cool down, continuing to aid recovery.

Tuesday morning and I went for a nice swim – 32 lengths (half a mile) plus I incorporated some Aqua Aerobics style moves – lunging and some dynamic stretching. Legs feeling good, just the quads a little tight, other than that, recovering well!

By Wednesday, I was ready for a light run, from Blackfriars station to Greenwich – very light pace 5 mile which consisted of jogging fast walking, strides (opening the legs out a little). Got to Greenwich and did some more dynamics there, as well as some longer holds, Yoga style.

Ultimately, gentle exercise/general movement in the days after can really help to get your body moving again and aid recovery.

So that’s it, what I did the days after the Bournemouth marathon I hope you enjoyed the read….. If you are working towards your first Marathon/Half Marathon, the most important tool after completing this is rest and enjoyment of an incredible achievement!

On to the next one, thanks for reading 🙂


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