How to recover after a marathon


Regular readers of this blog will be hard pressed not to have noticed I’m running the London Marathon on Sunday.

I’ve been thinking a lot about race day and in particular, life after race day. I remembered I wrote this post for My Momentum’s blog last year and could do with reminding myself of some of the points I raised.

There’s a time and a place for chocolate brownies and to be fair, working your way through a tray of them the week after you’ve run 26.2 miles (c’mon they were Paleo… ahem…) is probably as good a time as any.


But no one got back on their feet quickly from chowing down on fudgey chocolate squares – irrespective of how good they taste!

So here’s some thoughts on the quickest way to be firing on all cylinders in no time:

Immediately after the race – like, instantly. Have a protein shake all lined up in your bag. You’ll be ready to spew, not want a single drop of it but it’ll help you hobble to the bar if nothing else

Sorry, you won’t be this energetic:

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya wins the Men's London marathon-802281

At the bar – he who doesn’t drink champagne on running 26.2 miles is defs missing out. That said, beware further dreaded dehydration, have a big bottle of water at your side and glug away with every sip of the fizzy stuff that you’re taking

Definitely paid the price for this last year…


Eat – don’t let the champers go to your head before you’ve ordered some food to go with it. Again, you’re probably not going to be overly hungry but it all helps the longer term recovery and supporting those clapped out muscles

In bed that night – you’re probably not going to sleep (sorry). I’ve spent all four of my post marathon bed times tossing and turning, aching, with a bit of a temperature and generally feeling pretty grim. Try and do all you can to relax with a bath, some magnesium, a good book and try not to get too frustrated if you’re not nodding off right away. Some people also choose to sleep in compression tights but I’ve not ever tried this

The recovery session – yip, you need to get back in the gym… Madness huh? When my trainer inflicted this upon me for the first time last year I hated him. But there’s no denying motion is most definitely lotion. Stay as mobile as possible with some VERY light exercise and your muscles will be in a far better place

Cat naps – given you’re likely not to have slept the night before the race or the night of it you’ve got some serious topping up to do. Sleep allows our bodies to repare and along with the movement any 30 minute power naps you can grab here and there are going to make you feel tonnes better

Be prepared – and that doesn’t involve baking a tray of brownies in advance. Have some meals on hand that you can tuck into without any effort. The Slow Cooker is also a massive help at times like these – as is Ocado! Don’t make things difficult for yourself or allow yourself to make excuses for rubbish nutrition

Get a new project – have something in mind that you want to work towards or enjoy now the marathon is over. It may not seem that way right now but you’re going to really, really miss training. A massive gaping void is about to appear after all the time and energy you’ve invested prepping these past few months. Plan a holiday, book diary dates to meet all those friends you’ve had to put off in favour of a sprint session, take up a new hobby. Whatever you do, don’t mope around wishing you were still busting out a tabata. Seriously, don’t you remember how horrible they were?!

But take it from me, if you enter the ballot you run the risk of this happening…


Have you ever run a marathon? Did you miss it once it was over and done with?