The atmosphere, the inspiration you feel and the crowds pushing you round always make me run hard! So it's no wonder really that both races left me feeling pretty sore and broken in the days after the race. Post London Marathon I did not feel like my body could have ached any more than it did but then the Great North Run happened! The Great North Run was a brilliant race and I loved every minute, I ran hard but I just missed my goal time by seconds. I then had to sit in the car for a lovely six hour drive home!! Advice to anyone post big race, avoid a long drive home if you can, I think this was a huge contributor to my sore aching body! But as a teacher avoiding a lengthy drive was not possible for me, I had to get myself home on the Sunday evening to get back into work for Monday morning. Monday was interesting to say the least and stairs were a big issue much to the amusement of my colleagues and pupils!
I often find recovery for runners confusing! There is so much advice out there that usually, it is hard to know where to start. For me I have my go-to recovery options and after the Great North Run I was very lucky that Instagram also helped me to gain some new tips that might help with a speedier recovery and more importantly help me to be able to walk and up down the stairs again!
THE RACE FINISH
As soon as I crossed the finish line I knew that the recovery would start there. If you sit down, you face not being able to get up again (I know this because it has happened!) This is particularly true for the big races like the London Marathon and Great North Run because you have a long walk out of the finish area and back to the tube/metro to begin your journey home. If you sit down this walk is horrendous, believe me!
My absolute go-to as soon I am out of the finish area and have managed to retrieve my bag are always my OOFOS! The trainers come off as soon as I can and the OOFOS go on. They are literally my best friend in those first few minutes after a race. The feeling when you take your trainers off, quickly followed by assessing the blister and toenail situations (we’ve all been there) and sliding your feet into a pair of OOFOS is amazing! The comfort straight after the race is the immediate reason for reaching for them as soon as possible but when I have also been struggling with tight achilles my OOFOS always provide instant relief!
For me, day 1 is always a tricky one. Recovery after a big race can often take days/ weeks, but for me this is the tough one. Day 1 after London was hard, but for some reason, I still haven’t completely worked out why, day 1 after the Great North Run was even harder. I could not bend my legs at all! So the day was spent side stepping up and down the stairs and sitting down at work as much as I could. Once I was home from work the real recovery could begin. Again my OOFOS were an important factor, they stayed on my feet for as long as possible, I pretty much wore them like a pair of slippers for the entire evening. I also treated myself to a relaxing bath in epsom salts and a not so relaxing half an hour on the foam roller!
The stairs were still a problem! Again a day of being very steady and hobbling about. Who knew a half marathon could cause this much muscle soreness? The OOFOS were again the footwear of choice as soon as I was home from work. I really do wish I could wear them all day every day. The day 2 goal was to get moving again so a recovery run was on the cards. I am such a believer in recovery running, keeping moving even when I really don't want to makes the world of difference! A very, very steady 1 mile run was all that I could manage but this combined with stretching, foam rolling, my trusty pair of OOFOS OOlalas and a nice warm soak in the bath started to ease the legs just enough to be able to tackle the stairs properly again.
With a recovery run under my belt, my recovery was well underway! My legs had eased massively and stretching (and the stairs) felt much easier. By day 3 my colleagues were not laughing at my attempts to move around the school building any more and I was actually able to stand up for a whole lesson! Day 3 saw some more OOFOS wearing and soaking in the bath along with a longer more successful recovery run. I still cannot believe a half marathon caused this much pain!
MY TOP RECOVERY TIPS
So here are my top recovery tips. These are the things that I have learnt over the past few years and my absolute go-tos after every race!
1. Do not sit down immediately after crossing the finish line, you will regret it! Instead keep moving and stop and have a stretch if you can.
2. Put a pair of OOFOS on your feet at every possible opportunity. Immediately post race, post run and as soon as you are home from work.
3. Learn to love the foam roller. It hurts but its effective.
4. Use epsom salts in the bath, they work miracles.
5. Give yourself time! No one can run a big race and the next day continue with a tough training session. We all need time to recover. For me I try to ease off for at least 4-5 days depending on how sore I am before I start training for the next goal!
Follow Bethan on Instagram: @bethanham