Marathon Recovery & Effects
Besides stiffness of the legs and sore muscles after you finish your marathon, there are other deep factors that are affected by that extra long race. So lets jump into the recovery tips for your marathon side effects.
According to a 2021 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, your body may take 6-9 days to return to normal on a cellular level after running a marathon. Biomarkers related to systemic inflammation – troponin and C-reactive protein – are elevated for days after completing a marathon. Evidence of the muscle damage is increased serum creatine kinase, myoglobin and lactate dehydrogenase. Common mistake runners make is thinking they are fully recovered because their muscles aren't sore anymore. The damage goes deeper.
Lung Recovery After A Marathon
Feel burning in your lungs once you cross the finish line? From the labored breathing for so long, your respiratory muscles experience a 15-25% fatigue and your pulmonary function may decrease too.
Glycogen Storage After A Marathon
After the constant running for up to 5+ hours can lead to a significant glycogen depletion. This can cause tiredness and fogginess the hours after. To help this, drink plenty of electrolytes and eat more carbs to replenish your stores.
When you are running for a long period of time, your body will restrict blood flow from certain parts of the body and divert to the more working muscles. The most common side effect of this is GI issues and leading to nausea. Also, from the prolonged sweating your electrolyte imbalance can cause nausea.
So what to do after a Marathon
Recommended to take 7-14 days off from running completely. Every runner is different and each person's recovery is different as well.
For me, each race has been different. My first marathon, I was sore for about a week. The second I was sore for over a week because I ran it alot faster. My most recent race the soreness lasted about 4 days and my pace was a little slower than my second race. The more you run and your body gets used to the high mileage the better you will recover. Some other things to add to your recovery routine are stretching, ice bath, hot bath and massaging. Lasty, don't be shy about going on walks. The more blood flow you get into your muscles the better you will feel sooner.