Well done the training paid off and you’ve made it to the finish! I hope you have some sort of victory celebration organised as you certainly deserve it. To aid your recovery to get back to normal as soon as possible here are some post run tips.
Post event recovery.
First aid is always RICE – REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION for any potential injuries or trouble spots. Do this for 20 minutes and repeat every couple of hours for the first 48 hours if necessary. If things don’t improve or get worse consult a medical practitioner.
Food glorious food – you may feel so good now you have finished the event but don’t neglect your energy levels which will be dipping. Water is essential unless you have a preferred sports drink in which case stick with what you’re used to. Ideally refuel in the first 30 minutes when the body is most responsive but certainly within 90 minutes.
The main running muscles of the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors will be aching and may be threatening to stiffen up. Remember to stretch well and regularly to help prevent this, hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
Shower or bathe as soon as you can to prevent and chaffing rashes or bacteria on the skin. If you do have sort of skin irritation seek medical advice as to what to use.
How do you know if you have an injury or are suffering from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)? Generally speaking DOMS tends to be in the muscles used and less localised than an injury, it peaks around two days then begins to ease whereas injuries get worse especially when you try to use the injured area. If in doubt give it 2-3 days and if not improving seek professional help.
Sports Massage is essential for speedy recovery and to check any potential injuries or trouble spots. I you haven’t already arranged your appointment then get yourself booked in within the first week to help remove fatigue and check for any potential injuries or problems.
Should I use heat or ice? For discomfort and fatigue in the first 24-72 hours ice is considered best to relieve fatigue and reduce inflammation. If you’re not up to an ice bath that then ice packs on the areas for 15-20 minutes work well and can be reapplied every two hours if necessary.
So are you keen to get out there and train again? As a guide an easy rule of thumb is one day off for every mile ran so a couple of weeks off running following a half marathon. When you can walk comfortably and pain free you can begin jogging then increase gradually but remember other training can be beneficial as active recovery. Above all be kind to yourself, you’ve just achieved something amazing!
Having completed your event can leave you with a feeling of anti-climax and nothing to aim for. Recover from this one while you plan your next adventure.