Post Marathon Recovery Guide

This blog is part two of a two-part series focused on marathon race recovery.

Follow the below running plan for a guide on how to return to running safely. Remember this can vary from person to person.


Days 1-3

Running: None

Cross Training: The aim is to promote blood flow to your legs. The activities below are ideal:

  • walking,
  • elliptical trainer for 20 mins maximum
  • very light swimming,
  • or just keep moving regularly.


Days 4-7

Running - The focus is on loading your muscle tissues again, not building fitness.

  • One run for a maximum of 30 mins easy intensity.


Weeks 1-3

Running – Focus on a slow, gradual build-up of your training duration and intensity. Ideally, there should be no competitions or races within this period.

  • Week 1-2: Two runs – one x 30 mins moderate and one x 60 mins easy.
  • Week 2-3: Three runs – one x 30 mins moderate, one x 30 mins tempo and one x 60 mins moderate.

The reason for setting time and intensity over distances as targets is to allow you to focus on how your body is feeling that day. As your body is still recovering, the pace which you run at may vary from session to session to keep the intensity at the required level. It will prevent you from pushing your body too hard too quickly.


How do I treat myself:

Massage – I would advise against it for the first two days. Deep massage or rolling can begin from day three onwards.

Ice baths – The debate around this continues, but if you are going to do this you need to immerse your legs in a cold bath at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius for approximately 10 minutes on the night of the marathon.

Stretching – Start with light stretching post marathon for the following 24 hours. You can increase the intensity past this point.

Epsom salt baths – Start whenever you like!

Diet – Keep your diet clean and full of a wide range of nutrients to replenish your stores.

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