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Marathon Recovery
Montauban Marathon - 31st March 2019

Marathon Recovery

Post Race Recovery

There are so many thoughts on this subject floating around the internet and given that we are in the midst of race season now Post Race Recovery is an important subject to consider.

Generally we are talking marathon recovery here, but if you have completed your first half marathon and you are not a fully seasoned runner it's worth continuing reading as there may be a few hints and tips which might also help you on the road to making peace with the trainers ...

It is so important to give our bodies the time to rest and recovery after the all important big day. Physically our muscles need some time to heal but also mentally if you have followed a strict plan for 6,8,12 or even 16 weeks and then after race day life when life returns to normal what the heck is normal? For some of us pre-training is a long and distant memory and where do we go from here …?

We find that the best way to approach this is to break it down into segments – much like you would with your pre-race plan and consider a post-race plan also.

Immediately after your race:

It is really important as soon as you finish your race to rehydrate and to keep moving, generally of course there is a long and convoluted chute in which you collect your medal, bottle of water, goodie bag, race t-shirt etc etc but if you’ve entered a fairly small race with few runners then this is not to be expected. The general rule is to make sure that you keep walking for at least 20-25 minutes/a mile or so post race to avoid stiffness - then if you really need to sit or lie down then go ahead - listen to your body.  Refuelling and replacing lost carbohydrates is super important at this point.  In the book The Competitive Runner's Handbook by Bob Glover and Shelly-Lynn Florence Glover they also consider having a second 20 minute walk after this rest, just to keep the body moving and then some very light stretching - but nothing too strenuous.

The hours following your race:

Have a shower, however, be careful if you decide to have a bath - ensure any blisters etc are treated and any injuries are treat with ice before you have a soak.  The idea is to have a full ice bath - but you wouldn't catch us doing that ever!  The shower is the safer option.  Have a lie down and even if you don't sleep due to your mind still running the race a from few hours before - allow your mind to wander and smile at yourself and your awesome achievement.

If it is possible perhaps go for a swim, the cooler water will certainly help to relieve any soreness which is coming your way.  If not then another gentle walk will allow those muscles to ease back into normality.

Have a massage - if you have somebody who is a willing masseuse they could use arnica gel or The Aromatherapy Bible has a number of essential oil remedies which are perfect for post run recovery and sore muscles.

We can guarantee that you'll be super hungry - let yourself go, refuel eat some protein, chocolate and the things you've missed - enjoy it - you've earned it!

The days following your race:

You've probably heard of Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) - it's pretty much a given after running a marathon and it's fairly safe to say that for the first day or so after your race you'll be walking down stairs backwards! - We're not kidding, experience has shown us that it really is the most comfortable way to approach this.

Cross training is a great idea to get those sore muscles moving again, but do ensure that it is super gentle. An easy yoga or pilates class is perfect or some very easy cycling on a stationery bike will also help.

Sage Rountree in her book The Runner's Guide to Yoga has some great information about yoga poses (which you can do in the comfort of your own home) and ideas around recovery which are well worth checking out.  Sage is also a triathlete as well as being an internationally renowned yoga teacher and trainer - so she knows what she is talking about.

In his book The Lore of Running (our running bible), Tim Noakes suggests some very light running/jogging at a super easy pace for the first week or so.  He also suggests that infection and feeling low post race can happen really easily and it's wise to get plenty of rest and allow your body to heal gently.

The weeks following your race:

In the Competitive Runner's Handbook, Bob Glover says that you should be considering one day of recovery per mile you have run and some folk say a month; we have found from experience that mentally we were ready after about a week, but physically and if we are completely honest we were 28 days before we were in any fit state to run at anywhere near our ‘normal’ pace.

Cross training really is key here also - gentle exercise and keeping the muscles working but in a safe way will certainly help you along if you are not running at all will and prepare you for your next challenge.   As your recovery continues you can consider upper body strength and core work but still take it easy on those poor legs.

If you are struggling with not having a plan to follow then it's worth considering doing your taper in reverse? It gets you back out running regularly but at a nice and easy pace with low mileage. However, be careful with those long runs – nothing too drastic until a good 4 weeks plus after and then consider not more than about 20-25 miles per week.

What is next?

It's worth noting that the weeks following your marathon, however experienced you are may involve some form of 'feeling low'.  We have spoken to many people and also from experience it is very easy to feel a little depressed and out of sorts, and wonder what to do next.    We have found that focusing once again on getting out into the fresh air certainly helps with this - albeit taking it slowly and perhaps even swapping the odd run for a walk - it's amazing what you see!

However, if you are a little crazy - as we are, then you'll have already signed up for your Autumn marathon and perhaps even your Spring marathon (yes we already have a shortlist for that!).  It's a great idea to keep you motivated and to get you back into regular running to maybe do the odd 10km race or a half marathon - perhaps after all of those long runs a PB might be waiting for you ...

Montauban Marathon - 31st March 2019

The great thing about being custodians of a running website is that we get the opportunity to try out some of the runs we promote - aren't we lucky.

On 31st March we completed the 12ème Marathon du Montauban which takes place in the beautiful and picturesque town of Montauban which is about 55km north of Toulouse in South West France.

The whole running festival weekend can be enjoyed by all the family as they have a number of children's races on the Saturday and is the perfect opportunity to collect your race number (dossard) from the race expo at the same time.

There are a number of events taking place on the Sunday with the marathon leaving at 8.30am, the half marathon at 9am and the 10km race at 9.30am. In addition there are marathon relays also going on, so wherever you are on the course at any given time there's a few people around to keep you company.

As we completed the marathon of course we'll have to focus on that ... it was a two lap (boucles) course on closed roads and nature trails with the race leaving from Avenue du 10ème Dragon and winding it's way north of the town through a quiet area and then reaching what would normally be a busy road through an industrial area and onto an out of town shopping area with a very slight incline on the road between about 6km to 9km but hardly noticeable. It then winds in and around the streets of Montauban taking in the sites of the town centre modern fountain and old architecture of the Office du Tourisme, through the cobbled shopping streets and into the Place Nacionale with it's open air cafes and restaurants.

Leaving the sleepy shopping streets (well it was Sunday in France) if you look left you'd see the stunning Cathedrale Notre Dame de Montauban before descending down down down towards Jardin des Plantes and embarking onto the Tescou riverside path with a good few short and sharp ups and downs thrown into the mix. With a little more road running and back onto another riverside pathway now next to the River Tarn we reached the famous bridges of Montauban, crossing over the first and with 5km to go,we were then weaving our way around the streets on the other bank of the Tarn and finally making our way back over the river on the old bridge towards the start in order to either do it all over again or to make our way to the finish line - oh the relief!

All in all it was a very well organised race, from the collection of the race numbers to the handing out of the goodie bag at the end (which included a litre bottle of locally sourced grape juice, 4 apples, a pair of running socks, a gel belt, a technical t-shirt and the all important finishers medal). There were pacers out running at 3.00, 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.00, 4.30, fuelling stations at every 5km and fabulous support all the way along the course from spectators and runners alike with plenty of 'bon courage' and 'allez' along the route.

We'll definitely be back! Merci Marathon Montauban pour votre gentillesse !

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