Your 5 Day Post-Marathon Plan to Recover FAST!

You did it!

You actually freaking did it!

You ran a marathon!

And now…you're sore as sh!t for 5 solid days.

(*language alert* I know; but…it's a true statement).

Because now comes the hard part.


(you thought this was the easy part??)

Well, I guess it is. But when you've been training and dedicated for months on end for the sole accomplishment of 1 day and then it's OVER…

It's like the January blues after all the holidays wrap up.

So if you're feeling a little bummed out and deflated after your race, that's perfectly normal.

I promise, everything will be alright.

Your brain is quite literally experiencing a dopamine with drawl…and our brains can be little endorphin addicts.

It's chemistry and physiology.

(disclaimer: don't be afraid to reach out for help from friend, family, or healthcare providers if these feelings are overwhelming or debilitating. There's no shame in addressing the chemical imbalance that might be your brain right now.)

Just keep this tidbit in mind as your start snooping around different race websites and *accidently* sign up for another race.

In order for you to perform your BEST at your next race (whenever that may be), you FIRST have to recover from this one.

Easier said than done, right? Does the science tell us HOW to recover from a marathon?

I'm so glad you asked. ;)

Let's bust some marathon recovery myths together and create your recovery plan for your next 5 days!

Q: Do compression socks or compression garments speed up recovery?

Short Answer: Meh.

  • Wear them if they feel good and decrease soreness (aka pain) because nobody likes to be in pain.

  • Just know that your best recovery tool is still TIME, because the compression doesn't *actually* do anything recovery-wise. (see below)

Long Answer:

Perceived muscle soreness, maximal voluntary isometric contraction, and serum markers of creatine kinase and C-reactive protein were assessed before, immediately after, and 24, 48, and 72 hours after the marathon run.

Perceived muscle soreness was significantly lower (p ≤ 0.05) in the compression group at 24 hours after marathon when compared with the sham group. ("Sham group" meaning "control group;" these runners didn’t have any fancy compression leggings.)

There were no significant group effects for maximal voluntary isometric contraction, creatine kinase and C-reactive protein (p > 0.05). The use of a lower limb compression garment improved subjective perceptions of recovery; however, there was neither a significant improvement in muscular strength nor a significant attenuation in markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation.

So if compression leggings, socks, whatever…don't "do anything" why do you feel better?
  • Probably because of the neuroproprioceptive input (aka that squeeze sensation) the compression garment is providing to your muscles/joints and in turn, to your brain.

  • We know from other extensive research in the PT world that compressive garments, vests, knee braces etc can provide a feeling of stability and our bodies (and brains!) like that.