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  Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Recovering post-marathon
An exhausted runner cools off at the finish
An exhausted runner cools off at the finish
So you're standing on the finish line, just having run over 26 miles.

Sure you can bask in the glory - that's only right and proper.

But unless you want to be hobbling round like a septuagenarian for the next month, there are certain steps you should take as soon as you have your breath back.

Bud Baldaro, one of the UK's top running coaches for the past 25 years, offers the inside track on recovering from the toughest physical challenge you're likely to have experienced.


"The first thing to do is get a space blanket around yourself as soon as you cross the finishing line.

"Your body temperature will drop very quickly and make you feel very uncomfortable.

"Try to get food and water inside you as quickly as possible.

"This can be difficult because the majority of people feel naturally exhausted, but get as much fluid down you as you can manage.


I wouldn't recommend most people run in the first week
Bud Baldaro
"Pre-arrange to meet friends and family at a certain spot close to the finish, rather than dragging yourself round the Tube network.

"If you can walk a few hundred yards, even if it is really slowly, that'll help.

"At home, get in a hot bath or shower and ideally have a massage - but only a very light one because your muscle fibres will be so worn out.

"Most people want to go to work the next day to milk the glory and collect sponsor money. That's fine - but take it easy.

"I wouldn't recommend most people run in the first week - certainly not beginners.

"Some very light walking in the park would be perfect - just a little stroll on a nice spring evening.

"Some light swimming or cycling is another excellent way to help your tired muscles recover.


You'll feel even worse on the Tuesday
Bud Baldaro
"That first week, top up on good food and fluids throughout the week.

"I'd consider getting a good massage from a good sports physio on the Tuesday or Wednesday.

"The chances are, although you'll feel shagged out on the Monday, you'll feel even worse on the Tuesday - very often the second day is worse.

"This is because all your muscle fibres are torn.

"You'll have thousands and thousands of small tears in your muscle fibres because of the impact of pounding the road surface.

"Think of it in this way - when we cut ourselves, a scab forms to stop the bleeding.

"The same happens inside your muscles - you get tiny pockets of scar tissue forming.

"These inhibit the proper supply of blood to the muscles.


It's important to stress what you've achieved over the past few months
Bud Baldaro
"The lightest of exercise will help break these down and allow the oxygenated blood supply to reach the damaged areas and begin the process of repairing them.

"That's why non-impact exercise like cycling, gentle walking or swimming would be so fantastic.

"Above all it's important to stress what you've achieved over the past few months.

"Sometimes there can almost be a sense of anti-climax, and with it the attendant degree of depression.

"You've been focused for so long on this fantastic event, become part of this so-called family of runners, and then suddenly you've stepped away from it.

"It's maybe worth looking at, if not a new challenge, some new focus - and certainly enough credit for what you have achieved.

"A lot of us are pretty good at doing things without giving ourselves the proper credit for it."


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12 Apr 01 | London Marathon
Links to more London Marathon stories are at the foot of the page.


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