Marathon Recovery Tips
Marathon Recovery Tips
By Eloise Wellings, Australian Olympic middle-distance runner and Mum
Crossing the finish line of any marathon is an amazing achievement, and one that no doubt marks the end of many months of training and planning. You’ve taken your body to the limits and now you can celebrate your victory.
But to avoid injury, metabolic issues and ensure you can continue running, it’s important to go through a proper recovery routine. Consider these tips:
- Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water after running a marathon is vital to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during the race. Sports drinks with electrolytes can be useful to help the body hold onto fluid more effectively, but ensure you choose the healthy alternatives without additives. Aim to hydrate adequately within two hours of completing the run to avoid dehydration, muscle cramps, dizziness and drop in energy levels.
- Reach for carbohydrates and protein
Even though you may experience a reduced appetite after the race, it’s important to replace depleted muscle glycogen by consuming carbohydrate-packed foods such as bananas, granola bars, energy bars, and bread, as well as a quality protein source. Protein helps repair exercise-induced muscle damage, reduces the response from the stress hormone cortisol and even helps speed glycogen replacement, the goal of taking in carbohydrates. Reach for 10-20 grams of protein from dairy, meat or egg products, or a protein drink.
- Keep moving…then stretch, roll and massage
When you finish a marathon, your body is still in marathon mode, so it’s not a good idea just stop. Rather walk for at least 10-15 minutes before stopping. In that time your heart rate gradually drops, the circulation diverts back to its resting state and flushes lactic acid from the muscles.
Wait at least two to six hours after the race to stretch and foam roll and at least 24 hours for a massage. This allows your muscles time to replenish fluids and energy lost and recover from the demands of the race.
- Supplement with Ubiquinol
Ubiquinol is the active form of the naturally occurring CoQ10 in our bodies and plays a vital role in energy stimulation, helping convert carbohydrates and fats into energy the body can use for physical activity. A 2016 study demonstrated that supplementing with Ubiquinol may lower the degree of inflammation after exertion and intense physical exercise, which may help with muscle recovery.
 Sarmiento, A., Diaz-Castro, J., Pulido-Moran, M., Moreno-Fernandez, J., Kajarabille, N., Chirosa, I., Guisado, I. M., Javier Chirosa, L., Guisado, R. and Ochoa, J. J. (2016), Short-term ubiquinol supplementation reduces oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise in healthy adults: A randomized trial. BioFactors, 42: 612–622.