8 Great Tools & Tips for Post Marathon Recovery

Many people hear the word “fall” and think pumpkin picking, fire pits, and Thanksgiving, but to an avid runner, fall means MARATHON SEASON! It is the perfect weather for a long run and some serious training. It is difficult to decide which race you should enter, and therefore, many people find themselves entering multiple races with goals of breaking their PR (personal record).

Marathon training can be grueling at times, but as long as your body holds up, you will keep running the distance until you reach your goals! Therefore, it is important that you prioritize your time and fit in some health self-care activities to keep you feeling good. This includes physical therapy! Every runner should have a physical therapist as part of their “team” in order to provide expert tips on how to recover from a marathon and assist with general injuries and concerns during training. A physical therapist is a runner’s best friend; someone you can check in with during your training to take care of all your aches and pains in addition to providing you resources for recovery after a marathon.

Physical therapists have many tools available to keep your body healthy and keep you on your feet. Below are 8 great muscle recovery tools and tips for marathon season.

1. AntiGravity Treadmill:

Many physical therapy clinics offer anti-gravity treadmills which allow you to continue running with decreased loading and pounding on your joints. This treadmill can unweight your body up to 100%, therefore allowing you to continue to train for your marathon without further aggravating an injury. 2. Game Ready:

Many physical therapy clinics offer a game-ready device as part of a marathon recovery plan, which is the “superhero” of ice machines. It is a device that uses constantly-flowing cold water in addition to active compression to reduce swelling, decrease pain and speed up pre- and post-marathon recovery.

3. Foam Roller:

If you are an avid runner, you should own a foam roller to assist with muscle recovery. However, owning a foam roller is just not enough. A physical therapist can teach you exactly how to use your foam roller, which areas of your body you should be foam rolling and at what frequency. If you would like to learn more about foam rolling for marathon recovery, here is a great article.

4. Therapeutic Kinesiology Tape (KT Tape):

When you have an injury and need a “band-aid,” KT tape is commonly used in the running community. KT Tape is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight external support that helps you remain active while recovering from injuries. Physical therapists are trained and educated on how to apply KT tape correctly and can teach you how to apply KT tape to yourself for your specific injury and faulty movement patterns.

5. Cupping:

Many physical therapists utilize the technique of cupping as part of a marathon recovery plan to increase blood flow, break up tissue adhesions and improve mobility. Cupping is utilized to help reduce soreness and increase healing of chronic and overworked muscles. You can learn more about cupping here.

6. Graston Technique Tools:

 Due to all that running, your muscles can become tight, tense and restricted. Many therapists utilize instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization, or Graston tools, to break up those restrictions and assist with recovery after a marathon or run. This is believed to increase mobility and decrease pain, therefore assisting in your marathon recovery.

7. NormaTec Recovery System: 

Many physical therapists offer dynamic compression devices such as NomaTech to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid and speed muscle recovery. These machines are great for those sore, achy muscles pre-and post-marathon training. It can be part of your rehabilitation and post-marathon recovery routine when going to a physical therapy clinic.

8: Therapeutic Exercises: 

This suggestion for how to recover from a marathon is not as “sexy” and fun as all the other tips and tools but is actually one of the most important. A physical therapist can provide you with an appropriate exercise regime that is tailored to your specific body to help you feel your best during recovery after a marathon. This can be done preventatively, working on your already-existing deficits to avoid running injuries, or as a way to rehabilitate/recover a current injury that has already occurred. You can read more about cross training exercises here.

We encourage you to start thinking about your muscle recovery plan during marathon season and schedule your pre-and post-marathon recovery appointments now. With the BetterPT website or BetterPT app you can schedule an available appointment in any location (even for the week of your marathon if it is in a different city than you currently live) without a doctor prescription.

We hope you stay happy and healthy and have your best running season yet!

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