• Helen Phillips

Get recovery from your long runs right

Has machismo taken over running?  

I've lost count of the number of running friends who, after running a mega long marathon training run are out pounding the pavements the next day … posting to Facebook “look at me … look a me … I’m ‘recovered’ and back running … boy that 10k was tough, but I’m back!” 

The implication is that rest and recovery from long runs is for wimps!

The rest of us, still struggling with stairs or getting off the sofa, feel inadequate, ‘unfit’ and unworthy of calling ourselves runners … despite the focused training we're doing. Then all of a sudden silence.  They're lost from Strava and gone quiet on Facebook.  That niggle they'd been ignoring has turned nasty, they’ve come down with the flu or found they’re actually fed up with running.

You see, running a marathon is a massive challenge.  Preparing for and running your first marathon will test you to your limits.  You need to pace yourself through training and make sure you get recovery from your long runs right.

What is recovery and why is it so important?

Recovery after a super long run running is important to repair, rest and refuel your body, and return you to a ‘normalised’ state.  It’s a chance to bask in post run glory (regardless of your time), reflect on your run (what went well and what you’ll do different next time) and how far you've come in your training.

Rest IS Recovery!

The hours and days after your run matter, and rest is important.  Whilst you’re resting, your body isn’t ‘inert’, it’s not wasted time and you’re definitely not a wimp or ‘running looser’ to want to rest. 

When you’re resting your body is working hard on recovery so you can get your body and mind back to ‘normal’ to be ready for more running, if that’s what you want to do!

When you're doing supper long runs as part of marathon training you'll start to push your body and your mind to it’s limits so it’s perfectly normal to feel sore, tired, exhausted or just ‘done in’ in the days following your super long run.

So what can you do to help with marathon super long run recovery?

Active Recovery

Whilst I don’t recommend going out and trying to bash out a fast set of sprint intervals the day after your super long run, I DO recommend you get out, get going and DO SOMETHING, whether that’s a short easy jog, long walk, short swim or ride on your bike.  Active recovery moves your body, gets the blood flowing which helps remove ‘metabolic toxins’ produced from your run from your body.

Foam Rolling and Sports Massage

Foam rolling is a great recovery tool and it’s more effective than stretching. Foam rolling helps to flush out metabolic waste from your running from your body, it helps with circulation as well as to ease and loosen tight and worked muscles.

If you’re planning to have a sports massage after your super long run, I’d leave it a few days, until the initial inflammation and soreness has subsided.


Good sleep is THE BEST way to recover.  When you get good quality deep sleep human growth hormone is released, which helps build and repair tissues.  If you don't get enough sleep, your body produces more cortisol, which interferes with this tissue repair.

The night after your super long run sleep might be fitful. Your muscles will be sore and your metabolism still high, which could make zzz’s hard to come by. So make sure you schedule in early nights whilst you're training to help your body recover and repair.


Good nutrition is critically important to help your body recover from a super long run.  After a hard run, you need to replenish the carbohydrates you will have burnt running and eat protein to help your body start to repair your worked muscles.

You might not feel like eating much after your run, but it’s critical that you do.  Your body is crying out for quality nutrients and won’t thank you if you’re not giving it what it needs. Think lean protein, quality carbs and plenty of fruit and veg and you’ll be helping yourself heal from your race.

If you've a marathon in your sights why don't you come and join Marathon Club Hub to help with your training and preparation for your race.  Marathon Club Hub is my marathon training and preparation coaching programme for marathon first-timers and will help you get trained, prepared and ready to run your marathon without the stress of having to work it all out yourself.

Each week through spring you'll join other first-timers for a virtual training & preparation coaching call to keep you on track with your plan.

Come join Marathon Club Hub HERE.

Let's do this!

Helen x

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