Top Tips to Recover from Your Marathon in Record Time
The 2017 London Marathon was held today! Those running were selected from 253,930 who applied for the ballot last year.
The course record is held by Eliud Kipchoge (2016) at 02:03:05. I'm completely in awe of that—my running career was always a very slow one. 10 minute miles all the way!
I was training for the London Marathon in 2015 and ran the Cambridge half marathon in preparation for the big one. I was struggling with a knee injury that re-occurred every time I increased my long runs over 10 miles.
It was all fine until the eleventh mile.
My knee was screaming but, as a runner, I ran/ hobbled through it. I was nearly there and about 200m from the finish, when someone overtook me like a gazelle, I gave chase.
Adrenalin set in. I kept up and crossed the line feeling exhilarated!
30 mins later, I went to get on the moped and I could barely bend my knee. That was the end.
With just 8 weeks before London, I finally sought treatment from colleagues and followed their advice, but it was all too late. I did recover but I had neglected the 'niggles' as they came and found myself in that horrible abyss referred to as 'injured'.
So with this in mind I have advice for these of you brave enough to face the whole 26.2 miles!
A little known fact is that if you raise your legs to 90 degrees following a run, the lactic acid will be felt less the following day in your legs. You should ideally rest them up a wall for a good 10 minutes.
Rehydration is very important. Ideally rehydration salts mixed with water but sports drinks should be sufficient.
You don't need vast amounts. That could lead to hyponatremia. But you do need to recover sodium levels that have been lost through perspiration.
Painful muscle cramp can be caused by dehydration. The best way to deal with it is to rest, sip a sports drink and gently try to stretch the affected muscle.
Relax for the rest of the day. It is going to take 3 days for the inflammation to reduce, so maybe take turmeric supplements or even ibuprofen (if appropriate for you) to help.
Heat is not your friend. If you have a sore lower back, knee, shin or Achilles tendon, there is more likely inflammation present. If you apply heat to an inflamed area it attracts more blood locally, which in turn increases inflammation.
As heat's applied, pain reduces as the inflammatory markers in the blood are reduced/ diluted by the additional blood. Unfortunately this, in turn, brings more inflammatory markers. You take off the heat, the additional blood reduces, but the extra inflammatory markers remain.
You need ice, or something cold, on the sore areas. Ideally for 3-5 mins per hour and gentle movement to stop the inflammation from building up. I am not talking about a brisk walk, just a standing up every half hour or so just to mobilise around the back and hips for a couple of minutes.
There is very little a physical therapist can do for the first 72 hours following an injury.
With muscle strains and ligamentous sprains the advice is RICE. That is, of course, unless it's a significant injury. Then you should visit A&E immediately.
If you feel an injury is more than a sprain or strain you should see your GP. If you suspect fracture, dislocation or ligamentous rupture, that's a trip to the hospital.
Rest the injured part
Ice the area regularly. It's recommended to ice an injury for 20 mins every 2 hours.
Compress the injured area. A compression bandage is ideal.
Elevate the injured area
If after 72 hours there is still pain, that's the time to visit a professional. An Osteopath will give you a diagnosis, treatment (if appropriate), advice on management, and a prognosis.
With regards to running again, injured or not, I'd recommend taking a little time off. At least to begin with.
Avoid any running at all for a week, maybe two, depending on how you feel.
Walking is OK and is a good way to reduce the metabolic waste products from the muscles.