FIT IN THE CITY

 
Laura Williams
FITNESS & DIET EXPERT

There will be plenty of sore limbs around this weekend following the London Marathon. But you needn’t just grin and bear the pain – proper post-run care can quicken your recovery and help stave off injuries. I caught up with top physio Shreena Patel to find her top tips for getting back to full strength after your gruelling 26-mile ordeal.

• Post-marathon your immune system will be depressed, leaving you vulnerable to colds and other infections. Get a little more sleep than you normally would for a few days, and ensure your diet is well-balanced with plenty of vitamin C.

• Your level of pre-marathon fitness will determine the degree of delayed onset muscle soreness you will suffer. This is caused by micro-trauma to the muscle itself. There is some evidence to suggest cooling the muscles can be of some benefit. You could use a cold wet towel, or an ice bath intermittently. It is advisable not to run again until this soreness has resolved.

• The muscles that will be important to stretch will be the gluteal muscle region, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. The calf stretch must include a stretch with the knee both extended and bent, in order to stretch both muscles in the calf region.

• Hold these stretches for 30 seconds in order to achieve the maximum carry-over. Ideally, if you’re returning to a desk-based job, these stretches should be done three to four times a day.

• The ITB (band of connective tissue that runs from hip to knee) can commonly get over-worked during the marathon itself – the use of a foam roller on the outer thigh region can be helpful, if a little painful.

• Running should only commence again when the post exercise muscle soreness has completely resolved. In the meantime swimming or gentle cycling can be helpful.

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