Marathon Recovery

The thing I need to remind myself!

As I wake up this morning 2 days after the toughest marathon I have ever run I am feeling great! Yes, I have a little muscle soreness but nothing more than a feeling of a mildly tough workout. Any marathoner knows that feeling of waking up the next morning (or 2 days later) and taking those first steps out of bed to be immediately reminded of the many miles those legs endured or the tough act of walking down stairs, but none of that here. Yay! I feel great, which in itself may be a different problem, I am ready to go but am trying to take it easy and fully recover so I can race in full strength next month.

Marathon Recovery
  • Ice Bath- This is the one I do not follow! I can not handle being cold, so I skip it but know many who swear by ice baths. Yes I do ice areas (hamstring, piriformis) post marathon.
  • Compression Socks/Sleeves- I love these for reducing calf fatigue and improving blood flow leading in less pain and tightness in my calves. I will usually wear them for 1-2 days post long run/race depending on how tired my legs feel.
  • No Ibuprofen- This is huge and I know most of us don’t follow this. Ibuprofen does take away pain but also the good inflammation that is helping with recovery.
  • Move- Make sure to do something: walk, bike, swim, etc the day after to help loosen the legs. I usually go for an easy run starting 2-3 days post marathon.
  • Fish Oil/ Omega 3s- I honestly think this is one of the things that helped me this time. These help remove the bad inflammation but keep the good allowing for healing and soft tissue recovery.
  • Eat healthy & Hydrate- Drink plenty of water, carry a bottle with all day. Eat lots of fresh, whole foods including fruits, vegetables (beets are great), whole grain carbs and protein (beans, lentils, nuts, quinoa are mine).
  • Sleep- Take advantage of not needing to fit in early morning workouts and sleep in! I got to sleep in until 6:30 on Monday, the latest I have slept in probably years J
  • Massage or Roll- Continue to work on the sore muscles and work out the tightness.

Post-race compression for the drive with a little mud!

Mental Recovery
  • Reevaluate the Race- Look at the goals you met or didn’t meet and learn from this. What went right? What could have been better? Make changes for future races, training cycles but understand that there are things like weather, illness that are out of our control on race day.
  • Register for a Race- As you think about the race, look forward to the next race and look for a new goal.
  • Focus on Fun- Run with friends for the social side of things, catch up on non-running hobbies or take up a new project.


I am not a huge fan of recovery weeks since I want to be more active but am trying very hard to listen and not over do anything. What are your marathon recovery tips? 


  1. This is really interesting, especially the Ibuprofen tip. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing, very cool!

    1. I rely on it too but try really hard to avoid. It is funny since I have been hearing about the negative side of ibuprofen for years but it is only recently getting to mainstream.

  2. I try not to take ibuprofen (or any pain reliever) at all because I'm really sensitive to medication and ibuprofen for some reason knocks me out. I just don't really like to take medicine and then be down for the count. I definitely try to stay hydrated before and after a long run/race so that I don't experience the DOMS or experience it to a lesser degree. I definitely did not drink enough water yesterday and am really sore from my weights class. My little legs were like lead on my run this morning.

    1. Hydration is huge! Dead legs are the worst on a run, ugh!

  3. Good pointers! I tend to not take a recovery week, but as I get more into running I'm learning those weeks are just as important as training ones@
    emma @ a mom runs this town

  4. Love these tips Jen! I too had no idea about the Ibuprofen! Recover well girl! I'm so glad you are feeling so good already!

  5. Love these tips! I love ice baths. In college we had to take them after every practice (full body), so I guess I just got used to them. I also recommend epsom salt baths.

  6. That first quote is sooooo true. I know my body is capable of a lot more than my head is.

    I had no idea that inflammation was good for recovery. I am guilty of popping an ibuprofen here and there. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Great tips, most of these I follow myself! But I never knew about the fish oil, that is one I'm going to have to add!
    The only thing I add for myself is, the evening after a marathon I like to go for a short walk of at least a mile, to loosen the stiffness and I make sure I am getting lots of fluids. I do this again in the morning!

    Oh, and I think treating myself to a yummy meal of indulgence the night after the race is totally a need for my mental recovery:)

  8. These are great tips Jen! A lot of these I already do, but I'm unsure what to do after a full marathon. :-)

  9. Great tips! My first pair of compression socks are on the way. So excited! I had no idea about the ibuprofen. Thank you for letting me know. I know as a PT we often use ibuprofen and it's even in my texts. I want to learn more about this and see if it also applies (and I'm assuming it would) to other sports. Thank you!

  10. I love that quote and tell myself that often!!! (sometimes it works sometimes.....)
    Great tips!!!
    I had never heard that some inflammation is good - interesting!!!

  11. These are all great tips! Love it! I'm a big fan of compression sleeves for recovery.


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