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How To Recover From Running A Marathon
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How To Recover From Running A Marathon

We’re currently in the midst of the first phase of marathons for 2024, with the pinnacle of the running calendar – the London Marathon – taking place on Sunday 21st April. 50,000 people will be taking to the streets of London on Sunday to put themselves through the mental and physical challenge of a 26-mile run through the capital.

Throughout the month of April, there are a whole host of local marathons also taking place – including Manchester Marathon and Norfolk Marathon. For those who are participating, how can you make sure you’re being kind to your body and giving it the fuel it needs after a marathon?

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

A marathon isn’t something to take on without serious thought. Coming in at just over 26 miles, it’s important to prepare mentally and psychically for the run.

Research conducted among those doing 5K runs found that those who are mentally fresher before a race ran faster than those who used lots of mental effort in the run up to the competition. With this in mind, those taking part in any type of run – whether that’s a 5K or a marathon – you should reduce your mental activity in the lead up to it.

When you’re running long distances, it can be quite easy to get into your own head and start overthinking the distance you have to run. However, it’s research shows that caffeine can help reduce your perception of effort; some say it's because it helps reduce mental fatigue, while others believe it speeds up response times. With this in mind, pre-workout drinks – such as SCI-MX’s X-PLODE, which is filled with 200mg of natural caffeine – can help give runners a much-needed boost!

When it comes to physical fitness, one of the best ways to get yourself physically ready for a marathon is to have a varied training plan which incorporates running various lengths. Ahead of a marathon, you don’t necessarily have to run a marathon as a practice. Instead, running different lengths regularly will help you to distinguish your pace and gradually increase your stamina.

You should aim to do your longest training run a few weeks before the marathon. If you run long distances close to the marathon, your body will still be tired when it comes to the race. 

In the run-up to a marathon

As the run gets closer, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to ensure your body is fuelled and ready to go.

If you’re running a shorter distance – anything from 5K to half a marathon – you should keep a relatively balanced diet which is filled with nutrition. However, for those running a marathon, it’s a different story!

Carb loading in the days before a marathon will load your glycogen stores, meaning you will have lots of stored nutrients which your body will naturally release during the run. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that in the 24-36 hours before a marathon, you should look to consume between 10-12g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. So, for someone who weighs 70kg it’s recommended that they have 700-840kg of carbohydrates in the 36 hours before a marathon.

Of course, hydrating and refuelling during a long distance is very important, but by starting the race fuelled up, you’re ultimately starting off on the right foot!

Recovering from a marathon

When you’ve crossed the finish line, you’ll be focused on celebrating your achievement. However, before you pop open the fizz, there are a few things you need to do!

  1. As soon as possible after completing the run – ideally within the first 20-30 minutes – you should refuel your body with protein. Your body needs to repair the muscles which have been used throughout the run. Whether that’s a high-protein snack, like the Protein Blondie, or a refreshing protein shake made with Clear Whey, make sure you focus on protein intake.
  2. Stretch! You’ve just put your body through a considerable physical challenge, so make sure you cool your muscles down and stretch them out to avoid aches and pains the day after!
  3. As well as refuelling with protein, you need to make sure you keep your body hydrated. No matter the weather, whenever you do intense workouts, you need to rehydrate during and after. After a marathon, take small regular sips of water to slowly top your water levels back up. And don’t forget, just because the race is over, your body will be recovering for a few days so keep sipping!



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