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Best Tips to Recover after NYC Marathon 2018

Congratulations! You just crossed the finish line of the NYC marathon!!

Celebrate this huge accomplishment of running either your first marathon or your tenth, you still endured some struggle and finished the race like a champ!

You are probably experiencing some mix of the following: cold, exhausted, hungry, sore, in pain, achy, headache-y, and are just starting to recover from DOMS.

NYC Marathon

Resting, recovering, healing and getting your body back is just as important as your pre-race training. Everyone’s recovery is different.

While one person may be able to get back to running within a week or two, you may need three—and that’s okay. Listen to your body. No matter what your pace, here are 10 strategies you can try that’ll help solidify your recovery:

  1. Rest is your best friend. If your marathon race was brutal, rest is absolutely essential. We have patients that cramped at mile 20 and limped the last 6.2 miles across the finish line. One of the most common mistakes I see runners make is running too soon after marathon day—not the best way to recover. Give yourself 3 to 4 days to allow any inflammation to calm down, DOMS to wear off and then go for a short shake-out run. In future training, at least 1 day per workout cycle should be for rest.
  2. Stretch, foam roll, massage-ideally Active Release Technique. All excellent ideas to work out those sore muscles! But in order to give your muscles time to replenish energy and fluids, wait for 2 to 6 hours after the marathon to stretch and get down with your foam roller. Also: go light and gentle on the stretching for a week or so. A massage sounding nice right about now? Wait at least 48 hours before rewarding yourself. If you get a massage in the first 48 hours, you may end up even more sore.
  3. Ice, ice baby. Especially where it hurts, but even if it doesn’t, icing your knees, quads, and feet after a race (20 minutes on, 60 minutes off), is key. Or consider soaking in a ice bath in your bathtub for five to 10 minutes. This can go a long way toward fighting inflammation in your legs and speed up your healing. Try these icing tips.
  4. Mindbody Matrix Topical Cream. OK, I know this will sound slightly whoo whoo but this cream is awesome. I use it for all my muscle aches and soreness. It’s is “bioenergetic cream to imprinted with energy frequencies to relieve pain, stress and anxiety.”  It works quickly to reduce swelling at the site of the injury, and eliminate pain. Massage the cream onto your calves, the arches of your feet, or anywhere else you hurt.
  5. Move your body with dynamic functional movement. Your body needs to flush out the lactic acid and inflammation without any pounding on the joints. At Urban Wellness Clinic, we like moves that mimic what we did as babies to counter the linear motion of running: rocking, rolling, and crawling will do a body good and lube up the joints that just took a beating. This is the most functional primal movement out there to reset your body to its natural movement patterns after pounding the pavement in one direction for 26.2 miles. Each of these moves is done with a breath down into the belly with 360 expansion, a brace and then moving.
  6. Eat to beat inflammation. Don’t use recovery time as an excuse to eat junk, even if your body craves it.  Reward yourself with good food helps you heal. Go for foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties like ginger, cherries, beets, leafy greens, and omega-3 rich foods like walnuts. Avoid artificial sugar and saturated fat—they work against you. Make sure you get enough protein after the race, we love grass fed ground beef. And a good cup of bone broth to heat up the body and the soul, and a high dose of vitamin C for a natural anti-inflammatory. I like to get my high dose Vitamin C through an IV infusion.
  7. Elevate your feet to elevate your soul. Put 5 to 10 minutes into the Legs Up on the Wall yoga pose to reduce swelling. It’ll refresh your circulation, gently stretch your legs, and help you relax and pamper yourself post-race. An added bonus: it helps calm the nervous system into that rest and digest state so you can recover to your fullest potential.
  8. Cross-training to get the blood flowing. Within 3 to 4 days of racing, some nice, low-impact cross-training will get those endorphins flowing and help with recovery. Try spinning, swimming, and some resistance training to get the blood flowing. In your first week post-race, cross-train, rest, and gently test your ability to run later in the week (no more than 30 minutes). In week 2, if all is well, run: short and easy. If you still hurt, keep cross-training and bide your time.
  9. Hit the road again. Start back at your normal running frequency in week 2 but keep to short distances (no more than an hour). In week 3, run for longer and a bit faster. If all’s good, start easing back into your usual distance and intensity! We love balancing this out with more resistance training as you set your next goals whether it is to get stronger or another race in the near future.
  10. Sleep is your best recovery tool. We heal when we sleep. The human growth hormone that’s released while you snooze goes the extra mile to repair your muscle tissue and renew your body faster. Whatever you do, don’t be stingy with dreamtime.
  11. BONUS Normatec Compression Therapy: A great tool to flush out the lactic acid, DOMS, and a natural gentle massage that helps you recover quicker with leggings that fill with air. Sounds cool? Try them out at Urban Wellness Clinic.

The fact of the matter is, the faster you recover, the faster you’ll get back to running. Healing is essential for your longevity of many years to come running, don’t skip this important step!

So give yourself a couple days’ rest and then give us a call for some hands-on healing: 212-355-0445 or

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd