What you do shortly after your marathon has an enormous effect on your post marathon fatigue.
Here you’ll find simple steps you can do to minimize your post marathon fatigue and stay healthy.
What Contributes to Post Marathon Fatigue?
Marathoning is mentally taxing.
During your race, you’ve spent mental energy battling crowds, focusing on pace, and navigating the race course.
Physically, your muscles incurred microscopic damage and your body increased its level of the stress hormone, cortisol.
And, you’ve experienced internal temperature changes, blood flow increase, and dehydration.
These physical changes suppress your immune function, which increases your likelihood of a cold or an upper respiratory tract infection.
There’s a few guidelines to strengthen your immune system and reduce your post marathon fatigue.
Post Marathon Fatigue: Marathon Recovery Food
Post-marathon, drinking a beverage containing a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio jump-starts your recovery.
Carbohydrates replenishes your energy while protein repairs muscle damage and lowers cortisol.
Quick, easy sources of carbs and protein include chocolate milk and ready -made protein shakes.
Nutrient dense food with healthy fats and protein protects your immune system. In the days following the marathon, pay special attention to eating foods rich in iron, zinc, vitamins A, E, B6, and B12.
Here’s where you’ll find these nutrients and vitamins:
- Iron: red meat, poultry, seafood, dark green vegetables, enriched pasta, whole wheat bread
- Zinc: oysters, beef chuck roast, beef patty, fortified cereal, pork chop, baked beans, dark meat chicken, low fat yogurt, cashews, chickpeas
- Vitamin A: sweet potato, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, mangoes, dried apricots, broccoli
- Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, dry roasted hazelnuts, peanut butter
- Vitamin B6: chick peas, yellowfin tuna, sockeye salmon, chicken breast, fortified cereal, potatoes, turkey, banana
- Vitamin B12: clams, fortified breakfast cereal, trout, salmon, canned tuna, low-fat milk, yogurt
Find Healthy Recipes
Managing Post Marathon Fatigue at Home
Reduce inflammation with cool shower or ice bath then, wear compression socks for 48 hours after your marathon to further decrease inflammation and speed recovery.
Sleep is crucial after a marathon to bolster your immune system.
While you’re sleeping, your recovery is enhanced by growth hormones essential for muscle repair, muscle building, bone growth, and oxidation of fat.
Get Compression Socks
Post Marathon Running
After a few days of total rest, active recovery such as walking, a light spin, or swimming, helps prevent muscle stiffness and flushes out toxins.
But so far, there’s no exact timeline for returning to running after a marathon.
Some advice suggests taking a day off for every mile run – 26 days of no running after a marathon.
Elite marathoners take a week or two off before easing back into the sport.
The best course of action is to listen to your body. Post marathon fatigue differs from person to person and depends on your physiology, experience level, and how well-trained you were going into your marathon.
If you’re still feeling fatigued, rest and relax. You’ve earned the right to do so.
What steps did you take to reduce your post marathon fatigue? Leave a comment below.
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Nieman, D. C. (2007). Marathon Training and Immune Function. Sports Medicine,37(4), 412-415. doi:10.2165/00007256-200737040-00036
Gleeson, M., Nieman, D. C., & Pedersen, B. K. (2004). Journal of Sports Sciences [Abstract]. Journal of Sports Sciences,22(1). doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.646787
Pritchett, K., & Pritchett, R. (2012). Chocolate Milk: A Post-Exercise Recovery Beverage for Endurance Sports. Acute Topics in Sport Nutrition Medicine and Sport Science, 127-134. doi:10.1159/000341954
Post-Run Recovery Starts with Protein. (2016, May 20). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/post-run-recovery-starts-with-protein
Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin E. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B6. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
Marshall, G. J., & Turner, A. N. (2016). The Importance of Sleep for Athletic Performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal,38(1), 61-67. doi:10.1519/ssc.0000000000000189
Armstrong, S. A., Till, E. S., Maloney, S. R., & Harris, G. A. (2015). Compression Socks and Functional Recovery Following Marathon Running. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,29(2), 528-533. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000000649