Top Tips On How To Recover From Running A Marathon

Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Hospital Haywards Heath, Andrew Letheren, gives his top tips on how to best recover from running an event, and the signs of a potential injury that should not be ignored.

We commonly treat runners at all levels, those with injuries from overuse/repetition such as shin splints to muscle strains, and ligament ruptures/sprains including ACL and MCL injuries, as well as other soft tissue injuries. These conditions occur even in the fittest people at times. The most common problem we see are issues relating to the Achilles tendons, knee and hip pain, lower limb muscle strains as well as back pain. Regardless of the injury, our physiotherapists take a tailored approach to treatment.

1.TAKE TIME OFF TRAINING. It’s important that you give your body time to recover. Take some time of your training to help your body recover. Non-impact and very low intensity exercise can be beneficial, such as cycling, yoga or swimming.

2.HAVE A COLD BATH. An ice bath or a cold bath can help reduce stiffness and pain by reducing swelling and inflammation around the soft tissues and joints.

3.KEEP HYDRATED. Being dehydrated can make muscle soreness even more painful. Drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks while you are recovering.

4.STRETCH. Focus on stretching out your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves during your recovery period. Foam rollers can help with this. 

5.EAT WELL. Your muscles need protein and carbs to recover so make sure you up your intake the week after your marathon.

Your body needs time to recover so although you might feel at the peak of your physical fitness, its very important to take time off and then slowly introduce physical activity. Most soft injuries heal within around 6 weeks, however it can take several months for symptoms to settle. If you are still experiencing pain, swelling or bruising then its recommended you seek medical advice.

If you have incurred an injury and are unable to put weight on the affected limb, or experience pain that a) comes on at night and keeps you awake b) is caused by symptoms such as night sweats or lumps c) lingers for a week or more, get your injury checked by a professional. Such as a physio, GP or Orthopaedic Consultant, to rule out anything more serious. Having an injury can fell like a setback but be reassured, the body has a fantastic ablility to heal itself. Most injuries are treatable, short-term and unlikely to have long-term repercussions.

For more information or take make an appointment, speak to the Enquiry Team at Nuffield Health, Haywards Heath. Call 01444 476 762 or email Alternatively visit 

April 2023, Andrew Letheren
Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Hospital Haywards