Doctor Is In: Recovering from a marathon or half-marathon

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)- It`s fall and that means lots of competitive races have been going on, such as the Rock `n` Roll Half Marathon yesterday in downtown St. Louis.

Recovering from a marathon or half-marathon is critical and often neglected by many runners. If you don`t properly recover from your long race event, you`ll increase your injury risk.

Dr. Sonny Saggar stops by to discuss how this happens.

Days 1-3
NO Running
NO Cross Training

Recovery:
● Soak in a hot tub or warm bath for 10-15 minutes and stretch afterwards.
● Each lots of fruits, carbohydrates, and protein. The carbs and protein will help repair the muscle damage while the fruits will give you a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants to help combat free radical damage and boost your immune system.

Days 4-7
Running: One day, 2-4 miles but take it very easy
Cross Training: Optional - Up to two days per week do 30-40 minutes easy effort. The focus is on promoting blood flow to the legs, not building fitness.

Recovery:
● Continue eating a healthy diet
● Now is the time you can get a deep tissue massage if you have areas that are really bothering you or that are injured.
● Contrast shower with alternating warm water and cold water, for 3 to 5 minutes at a time each, again especially over your legs. Do this for 15-20 minutes. This helps rush blood in and out of the area, which facilitates healing.
● Consider an Epsom Salt Bath. About an hour before bed, soak in a hot/warm bath with 3 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda for 10-15 minutes. After the soak, stretch real well and relax.

Days 7-14
Running: Three or four days of 4-6 miles, but very easygoing.
Cross Training: Optional - Up to three days per week. One easy session and two medium effort sessions for 30-45 minutes.

Days 14-21
Running: Begin to slowly build back into full training, say four to five runs of 4-8 miles.
Cross Training: 1 easy session, 1 medium session, and 1 hard session of 40-50 minutes.

It takes about 2-3 weeks of training to get back into good shape and ready to start attacking workouts and planning races.

Try not to schedule any races until 6 weeks after your long race event. I know you may want to avenge a disappointing performance or you`ll be coming off a running high and you`ll want to run every race under the sun.

However, your results won`t be as good as they might be if you just wait a few weeks and let your body recover and train a little first.

Patience is a virtue, but it will pay off in the end.

Dr. Sonny Saggar is an Internist, an Emergency Physician, and the founder of STLHealthWorks.com, which includes the St. Louis Urgent Cares locations Downtown, Eureka, North City and Creve Coeur.

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