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Recover After NYC Marathon 2016

So you just finished the NYC marathon and are just starting to recover from DOMS. Healing and getting your body back is just as important as your pre-race training. Every 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 best. If your marathon race was brutal, rest is absolutely essential. One of the most common mistakes I see runners make is running too soon post-marathon—not the best way to recover. Give yourself 3 to 4 days to allow any inflammation to calm down and then go for a short shake-out run. In future training, at least 1 day per workout cycle should be for rest.
  1. Stretch, roll, massage. All excellent ideas! But in order to give your muscles time to replenish energy and fluids, wait 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.
  1. Ice, ice baby. Especially if it hurts, but even if it doesn’t, icing your knees, quads, and feet after a race (20 minutes on, 60 off), is key. Or consider soaking in a cold bath 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.
  1. Arnica. This gel is a popular homeopathic remedy used to treat bruising, muscular strains, wounds and swelling. It works quickly to repair damaged blood vessels, reduce swelling at the site of the injury, and eliminate pain. Massage the gel onto your calves, the arches of your feet, or anywhere else you hurt.
  1. Move something. Your body needs movement to flush out the lactic acid and inflammation without any pounding on the joints. At Urban Wellness Clinic, we like to pull from moves that 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.
  1. Eat to beat inflammation. Don’t use recovery time as an excuse to eat junk.  Make an exception and reward yourself with a sundae if that’s what the heart wants, but remember: 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.
  1. Elevate. Your feet, that is. 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.
  1. Cross-training. Within 2 to 3 days of racing, some nice, low-impact cross-training will get those endorphins flowing and help with recovery. Need inspiration? Here are some ideas. 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.
  1. On the road again. If it’s working for you, 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!
  1. Sleep heals all wounds. There’s really nothing like sleep. The human growth hormone that’s released while you snooze goes the extra mile to repair your muscle tissue and renew your body fast. Whatever you do, don’t be stingy with dreamtime.

The fact of the matter is, the faster you recover, the faster you’ll get back to running. Healing is never a step you can afford to skip.

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