Congratulations, you have just completed a half marathon! There’s a good chance you’ll have some very sore/stiff legs, hips and you may be aching in other areas too.
Our specialist sports injury therapists have some advice to help you and your body recover from the run:
· Keep moving!
Performing a range of cool-down static stretches can help your muscles relax, will realign your muscle fibres and help you re-establish a normal range of movement in your limbs.
· Eat and drink
This sounds obvious but eat and drink some simple carbohydrates such as a banana and a sports drink as soon as you have crossed the finish line. While a celebratory glass of champagne may seem like a great idea, it really isn’t, alcohol can impede your recovery, wait until you are fully re-hydrated before you pop open the bottle.
Eat little and often throughout the rest of the day. Aim for around 25 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat, and the rest in complex carbohydrates – you could have chicken, spinach and rice for dinner, instead of your usual Sunday roast and Yorkshire puddings.
· Bathe in a tub of ice
Take a deep breath and jump in, all the top athletes do it!
· Use a foam roller
A self-massage using a foam roller can help your muscles quicker, we would advise you to do this the day after the run, and only do it if you aren’t feeling any specific pain – if you are in pain, contact one of our specialist therapists as soon as possible.
· Book a sports massage
It is worth considering booking yourself a sports massage, your body will recover much more quickly from the half marathon if you have a post-event massage.
While some stiffness will be natural, and even expected, you should still be able to walk around reasonably well. If you are struggling to move around, or if your legs feel especially stiff, then you should strongly consider seeing one of our specialists.
This is especially true if your stiffness continues into a second or third day – this stiffness is a sign of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which usually peaks 24-72 hours after an event.
Bear in mind that muscle soreness can also mask any injuries that you may have picked up throughout the run, so it’s worth taking extra care with any additional sporting activity you may have planned for the next week, though we do recommend allowing several days for your body to recover if possible – severe muscle fatigue can increase the likelihood of picking up further injuries.
A half marathon can have a massive effect on the body and can take time to recover from. Don’t waste time waiting for pain to go away, therapists at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic can help get you back on track.