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Tips for recovery after a marathon

It is really important to keep moving the days following a marathon to ensure you do not stiffen up. Gentle, low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling or walking will get a lot of oxygen to the muscles to help them recover. It is also a good idea to go for a walk during your lunch break and to get up and move every 30 minutes from your desk.

It is really important to keep moving the days following a marathon to ensure you do not stiffen up. FILE PHOTO | NMG

It is an amazing achievement to finish a marathon and one should be on cloud nine for a month on finishing one. However, after a marathon, the focus should be redirected to recovery, especially if you are prone to injuries.Here are six tips to guide your recovery and help prevent injury after a marathon:

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Hydration is the number one priority after any marathon. It is even more important if the marathon was run on a hot day. So, in the days following the race, try and avoid alcohol and coffee and drink a lot of water instead. Drinking water in bits and often is normally best.To make sure you are hydrating correctly, check your levels. The best way to do this is through the ‘wee’ test — your urine should be a light yellow colour. If it is darker, drink!You have just run 21 kilometres or more in the marathon. The muscles have undergone a lot of strain during that period. It is important to stretch out all muscles and especially the lower limbs — the calves, hamstrings and quadriceps.This should be done on finishing the marathon and every day for two weeks after a marathon. This aids the body in recovering faster.3. Do not sit stillIt is really important to keep moving the days following a marathon to ensure you do not stiffen up. Gentle, low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling or walking will get a lot of oxygen to the muscles to help them recover. It is also a good idea to go for a walk during your lunch break and to get up and move every 30 minutes from your desk.Your legs will tighten up whatever you do — you have just run over 21 kilometres. A sports massage can help with this though, and it will prevent injury and aid recovery. Just do not be tempted to have deep tissue work — any treatment you have should involve long, light strokes to help you recover. At C & P Health Centre, we have expert soft tissue therapists who will help you on your way.5. Think about what you eat.You will need to eat a significant amount of carbs and proteins to replace your energy stores. This will help you repair the muscle damage. We recommend carbohydrates such as cereals, ugali, pasta or brown rice. Meat eaters can get protein from meat and fish. For vegetarians, legumes and beans are the best sources.Tell everyone you meet the days after the marathon that you completed the marathon – stand tall, smile and be proud. You are awesome!

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