With just over a week to go until the London Marathon, you will have likely begun to taper pre-race and put together your plan for race day. Apart from the race itself, the final piece of the puzzle is recovery. 

As a result, we’re back with part 3 of the Runna marathon series. Part 3 will give you the low down on how to maximise recovery post-marathon.

It’s all too easy to forget about this once you cross the finish line, but is hugely important!

What is the purpose of recovery?

Typically, the purpose of recovery is to restore the body’s physiological and psychological functions, so you can compete and train again at the appropriate level. However, in the case of recovery post-marathon, it’s largely to let your body recuperate and minimise the extent of your aches and pains post-race.

Resting and refuelling are two of the key areas of consideration.

What to do straight after the race?

Start by cooling down. Cooling down is often the overlooked section, yet it plays a crucial role in both enhancing recovery and preventing the development of injuries. 

As tempting as it is keep moving for 5 – 10 minutes at a slower pace, followed by some light stretching.

After this, try to get into some clean, dry clothes and keep yourself warm.


When it comes to post-race nutrition, ideally it would be great to focus on getting in a meal with a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein – to help replenish your depleted glycogen stores and to start repairing muscle damage. 

However, this isn’t always practical, largely because you may feel a little queasy from all the gels and on a bit of an adrenaline come down. There may be little you fancy or can stomach, so don’t worry too much about this. Just have something you can get your hands on easily and whatever you can cope with. 

Later in the day, aim to get a properly balanced meal in, comprising of complex carbs

Although it’s tempting to sink a couple of celebratory pints, ensure you are also drinking lots of water (and/or electrolyte drinks) to help you rehydrate post-race.

What to do the following few days?


Allow at least a week (or more) of rest and recovery time. How long you rest post-marathon will be entirely dependent on your training experience. However, it is important to note that you should avoid any high-impact workouts or new activities.

Although it’s tempting to do absolutely nothing, try to keep your body moving gently over the coming days. Think low-impact activities, such as yoga, foam-rolling, walking or swimming. This will help loosen up muscles, improve blood flow, work on breathing and reduce the lactic acid that builds up during the race.

Sleep is another key component of recovery. Ensure you get ample sleep in the days following the marathon, as it is a prime time for your body to repair and rejuvenate.


Hydration and good quality nutrition should still be at the forefront of your actions in the days following the marathon. 

Over the next few days, maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Carbohydrates are crucial for restoring glycogen levels, so include things like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your meals. Protein is vital for muscle repair, so incorporate sources like chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes. Healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil will support inflammation reduction and overall recovery.

Don’t forget hydration – continue to drink plenty of fluids to replace what was lost during the race. Electrolytes, found in sports drinks, coconut water, or water with a pinch of salt, can help maintain fluid balance. 

When can you start running again?

The million-dollar question for some. There’s no right answer here – it depends entirely on you as an individual. However, one thing is for sure – don’t rush back!

Resuming running after a marathon depends on how your body feels and recovers. Typically, a gradual return to running is recommended within one to two weeks. Start with light activities like walking or gentle stretching in the first few days. Short, easy runs can be reintroduced if there’s no excessive soreness. Listen to your body—if you experience pain or prolonged fatigue, allow more time to recover. Gradually increase distance and intensity based on comfort and recovery progress. 

It’s important to avoid rushing this process to prevent injury and ensure a full return to pre-marathon fitness levels.

Feeling inspired to lace up your trainers? Runna is your personalised running coach with tailored plans to achieve your goals, from training for a faster 5k to your first marathon – they’ve got you covered. Download Runna today to claim your two weeks of free coaching to help you reach your next running goal with code: FRESHFITNESS. Get started here and thank us later! Read about our experience with Runna here.

Need a plan to support your running regime – get involved. Get £50 off a 5-day trial with code: BLOG50. Start your trial here! Order today and start smashing your goals with personalised nutrition!

Fresh Fitness Food provides personalised meal plans delivered straight to your door, ensuring not only that you have the nutrients you need to manage your stress levels, but also that you have the time usually spent shopping, cooking and washing up, to engage in your favourite stress-reducing activity.

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