Tips: How to recover from a half marathon

Massage therapyIf you have just completed the Great North Run, there’s a good chance you’ll have some very sore/stiff legs, hips and possibly your back.

Muscle Soreness

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 (to stand, sit, walk, etc), or your legs feel especially stiff, then you should strongly consider seeing a specialist.

This is especially true if your leg stiffness continues into a second day – it means you may have Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, 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, so it’s worth taking extra care with any additional sporting activity you may have planned for the next week (though we recommend allowing several days for your body to recover if possible – severe muscle fatigue can increase the likelihood of picking up further injuries.

Faster half marathon recovery

If you can’t get to see us straight away, there are measures you can take to speed up your recovery and alleviate the effects of the fatigue in your muscles.

Keep moving!

This is especially important for the 30 minutes after you finish. Your entire body is screaming at you to sit or lie down, but try to keep moving.

Dynamic and static stretching

We recently posted tips for both dynamic and static stretching. They both have their place as part of any warm-up/cool-down.

Eat and drink – immediately afterwards

This sounds obvious, but eat/drink some simple carbs such as a banana and a sports drink (whilst walking around!) immediately after you have finished. A beer might sound like a great idea, but it really isn’t – at least not until you are fully re-hydrated

Eat and drink – throughout the day

Eat little and often. Aim for 25 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat, and the rest in complex carbs: brown rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, etc. Have chicken, spinach and rice for dinner!

Ice bath

We know, they feel horrible. Painful, even. But 15 minutes in an ice bath, as soon as you get home, will do wonders for your recovery. All the top athletes do it.

Use a foam roller

Leave this until the next day, and only do it if you aren’t feeling any specific pain (if you are, speak to us asap) – but a self-massage using a foam roller can really help muscles to recover faster.

Most importantly of all, please, please speak to us and arrange a massage if you are struggling. A half-marathon can have a massive effect on the body and can take days, sometimes weeks, to recover from fully. Don’t waste time waiting for pain to go away – we can get your quality of life back on track straight away.

Book your post-GNR massage asap on 0191 233 0500, or use our online contact form to book an appointment or ask for advice.