If you’re taking part in the London Marathon this year, learn how to boost your post-run recovery with these essential tips from Ross Murray, London 2012 Olympian.
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When a runner comes to me and tells me that they want to race the marathon, two thoughts always immediately spring to mind; the first is ‘brilliant, this is going to be an exciting, fun and rewarding journey for both of us’ and the second is…’I hope you know what you’re letting yourself in for!’, because the marathon is no joke and the training that is required for it will push you to your absolute limits, physically and mentally.
If you’re training for a 5k/10k you can generally carry on living your life in the same way you normally would, yes it would help to eat super clean, do 15 minutes of stretching every day and get regular treatment etc., but generally you don’t need to do it, you just have to get out and get the training done.
However, if you’re going to train for the marathon, the brutality and intensity of the training means you have to go that one step further, you have to live your life as much like a professional athlete as possible during that 10-12 week build up. The mileage and intensity of the training means you need to eat well, sleep well and do all the little ‘one percenters’ to keep your body in check and stop you from getting injured or fatigued.
Top recovery tips for London Marathon runners:
Let’s outline some of the key things that you should be doing to get the most out of your body and help you achieve those target times.
1. Try regular physio/massage (before and after the event)
One of the biggest misconceptions with regards to physio/massage is that it’s only there for when you’re injured.
One of the best ways to minimise injury risk is to get regular treatment so that you can stop any problems before they even start.
In an ideal world I would say it’s great to be on the treatment table every week but I appreciate this can be expensive, so even if you can get six-eight sessions in during your whole marathon build up (and plan these in your heaviest training periods), this will significantly reduce your chances of injury.
If you have another race or goal that you’re working towards, I would also recommend booking in treatment post marathon too. It’s fair to say the body will probably be a little beaten up so a couple of sessions on the treatment table after the race will help massively with recovery.
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2. Boost your nutrition and supplement regime
During your marathon build up you’ll probably be running more miles than you’ve ever done before (or since your last marathon).
This means that you’ll need to be consuming more calories than you would if you were training for a shorter distance. You can’t run more, train harder and expect your body to recover with the same amount of fuel. My one piece of nutrition advice for marathon training is to make sure you’re eating plenty, giving the body what it needs to repair itself after all those miles. As long as you’re eating good, healthy food, you can’t eat too much.
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3. Help you body recover between training sessions
I understand that everyone has busy schedules, and you might be doing some of your training before work or on your lunch break etc. but when possible, always try and make sure you’re taking time to do the right things to help your body recover in between hard sessions, otherwise you might find yourself in a constant state of fatigue and battling aches & pains…
Here are a few simple recovery tips London Marathon runners can follow to keep the body in tip top shape:
- 15-20mins of post run stretching – This is enough time to give your whole body a good stretch out. Think about focusing more attention on areas that you know are a little more tight or have been identified by your Physio as areas you should be working on
- Recovery shake within 30mins of training – Refuelling the body and giving it something good to ‘feed on’ post training is incredibly beneficial in terms of helping you recover for that next session.
- Ice bath – I won’t lie; these are so hard to do. Nobody wants to sit in a freezing cold bath for 12 minutes but they are so effective in getting that inflammation down. I would recommend one per week after your hardest session, whether that’s your Tuesday intervals or your Sunday long run.
- OOFOS recovery slides – We’ve talked a lot about the fact you’ll be doing a lot of mileage during your marathon build up, so as result, it will have never been more important to look after your feet and get in the right footwear post runs. The OOFOS slides offload and absorb all the pressure that would normally be going through the feet and trust me, after a 16+ mile run, you’ll need it!
There you have it, my top recovery tips for London Marathon runners, including all the things you should be doing to help keep your body in a good place as you train for the brutal but beautiful marathon distance. Even if you only do one or two of these things, your body will love you for it and you’ll get more out of your training. Good luck in your race and don’t forget to enjoy it!