‘Save the big meal for later in the day when your appetite returns, and you can enjoy that celebration.
‘The time immediately after the race is more about getting in about 200 to 300 easily-digestible calories from carbohydrates and protein to maintain blood sugar levels, replenish muscle glycogen, and repair muscle tissue.’
Gentle exercise the day after
The day after the marathon, your body is likely to be in pain. It can be tempting to lie on the sofa all day – or throw yourself back into running in an attempt to shake off the pain.
Ideally, you want to be somewhere in the middle of these two strategies. Movement is good, but it needs to be gentle.
‘One of the most common mistakes made by marathon runners is to get back to strenuous training too soon,’ explains James.
‘The 26.2 miles really takes a toll on your body and you need to allow your muscles time to replenish fluids and energy lost and recover from the demands of the race.
‘I advise clients to do some light walking and stretching the day after the race, and only re-introduce cardio activities such as running or cross-fit in the next few weeks when it feels comfortable.
‘Having said that, everyone’s recovery is different – so just listen to your body and let it be your lead.’
Try hot yoga for muscle recovery
If you’re looking for a gentle, soothing form of exercise to help ease your aching muscle – hot yoga could help.
Stretch and recover
Any sort of exercise puts the body under stress. As such, rest days are crucial to allow your body time and space to adapt.
A yoga practice is an ideal rest day activity.
Repetitive motion, such as running, tends to shorten muscles – hot yoga is great to help maintain range of motion, release muscle tension and generally counteract the effects of training.
Hotpod Yoga pods are heated to a comfortable 37 degrees, which is warm enough to help ease you into poses and stretch safely, without being overwhelming.
Running is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.
When practising hot yoga, there are a number or factors at play in order to help build the mental focus and awareness required.
Running is not solely about legs. Rather it is a coordinated whole-body effort which requires a strong core to implement.
Yoga involves awareness and engagement of the core throughout, building a strong core over time.
Yoga develops flexibility which is the foundation for efficient movement of all four limbs and can help with injury prevention.
Nick Higgins, co-founder, Hotpod Yoga
Look after your feet
Don’t be surprised if you peel off your running socks to find that your feet are blistered, battered and bruised.
It’s totally normal. But that doesn’t make it pleasant. James has some ideas of how you can give your toes some TLC:
‘Everyone’s heard the horror stories about the “body bashing” you get during a marathon.
‘So, if you experience bruised toe nails, heel blisters, hard, calloused skin on your feet or skin chaffing – your body will definitely need some post-race love and care.
‘Pounding the pavement can really take it out on your feet, so you could try an at-home treatment such as Footner Exfoliating Socks, which makes use of the skin’s natural process to rid your feet from dead skin build-up and can leave you with baby-soft feet in a quick and easy 60-minute application.’
Soak in a warm bath
Submerging yourself in warm water will help to increase blood flow, stimulate healing, and relax sore, tight muscles. So get the water running as soon as you get in from the race.
‘A hot bath with Epsom Bath Salts can help to relax muscles and detoxify the body,’ says James.
‘The magnesium in the salts can help reduce inflammation and improve muscle function, whilst the sulphates improve nutrient absorption and can help with flushing out toxins.
‘The recommended use per bath is 300-500g or 1-2 large full mugs. Just soak for 10 minutes while it works its magic.’
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