Places Pointer: Marathon Recovery

How to recover after the big race

Once you’ve crossed the finish line and got your medal, you’ll probably be looking forward to a good rest and a period of doing nothing, but there’s more to recovery than that. Recovering from a marathon or any long-distanced race should be taken just as seriously as training.

What you do – or don’t do – determines how quickly you can get back up and running!

We’ve put some guidance below on how you can cater to your body as it goes into repair mode. Even if you don’t compete and enjoy running for fun, these points are still important to keep in mind.


Keep your muscles warm

The heat is on! Just as you would warm up before your run, it’s important to keep warm after. Doing so increases your blood flow, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles which prevents muscle fatigue.

This is why you see many runners being wrapped in a foil blanket after a race! Runners who don’t keep warm put themselves at a greater risk of cramps and strains. 

Staying warm can be done through using a hot water bottle, having a warm bath, stretching, or doing any light physical activity that increases your heart rate, such as a walk.


Refuel with food

Running can impact your body intensely, so it’s important to give it some love back with good food.

Be on the lookout for food that can help rebuild and repair your muscles quickly. Who would have thought blueberries were a good start?! Not only are they antioxidants, but they also boost cardio and bone health.

Foods that are high in protein are also a great shout, think chicken, salmon, eggs, chickpeas, yogurt, tofu, and nuts.


Take a dip

Swimming is one of the best recovery options around. A study showed that a gentle swim after high intensity running boosted exercise performance compared to complete rest. There’s power in the pool!

After a couple days, you’ll probably notice DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and as swimming is a non-weight bearing activity, the natural buoyancy of the water offers relief to muscles, bones, and joints, allowing for a freer movement.

Swimming doesn’t necessarily mean doing lots of laps in the pool either, there are a range of activities you can do in the water, such as aqua aerobics.


When can I run again?

We know it can be tempting to get your trainers back on and head out for a run, but unfortunately, there isn’t a particular answer to this question. It depends on how you trained, how you ran during the marathon, and how you feel after.

The best guide is to really tune in and listen to your body, while keeping an eye on any soreness, minor aches, and fatigue.


These tips can be applied to any race that feels like a marathon too. No matter the distance, the hard work doesn’t stop at the finish line!

If you want to begin your running journey or are already a keen runner and have your sights set on your next PB, we have a range of memberships that can help to support you in doing exactly that. You can find out more about them by clicking below.

Membership options

We also have Personal Trainers at our centres who can help you further. Whether you need a tailored running plan, better fitness and dietary advice, or an extra person to keep you motivated, we’ve got you! Look out for their profiles on the Profile Boards in our centres, which gives you information about each one. Feel free to speak to them or a member of our team on the gym floor to get started.


Sources: Effects of a recovery swim on subsequent running performance (National Library of Medicine) | Warm-up and cool down – Healthy living (NHS Inform) | What to eat after a run (TCS London Marathon) | 10 Ways To Recover From a Marathon (Yale Medicine)