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Sports Medicine Experts Offer Tips to Help Post Half-Marathon Recovery

New York—March 15, 2013

More than 15,000 runners have spent the past several months training for the NYC Half 2013. Once they have completed the race and achieved their goals, there are measures they can take to facilitate recovery, decrease post-race discomfort, and return to running without injury.

Eating immediately after the half marathon, icing sore muscles, and having a gentle massage are only a few of the tips that Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, physical therapist from the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, offers runners who cross the finish line.

“Runners have to pay close attention to their bodies so they don’t injure themselves,” says Silverman. “Training should have provided runners with a good idea of how their body works. Runners should take everything they’ve learned in that time and apply it to taking proper care of their body after the marathon—they will feel better, faster.”

The following are recovery tips from Silverman on ways to bounce back from a half marathon:

• Replenish. Immediately after the race, you are given a food and fluid bag. While you are waiting around, being ushered out of the park, consume the entire bag. This will immediately replenish salt, and add some quick carbohydrates and nutrients.

• Rehydrate. After months of training a lot of runners just want to party when they finish the race. That is fine, but be smart about it. Hydrating is very important. If you consume alcohol it will only further dehydrate you. Making a smart ratio, 2:1, or 3:1 glasses of water per alcoholic beverage will help you from causing harm.

• Rejuvenate. Sitting down after all of those hours of running is a shock to the body. As much as you want to just sit down after the race, it's important to keep moving! 
 
• Eating the day after is just as important. Try to stay away from enormous meals. Eat small amounts of nutrient-rich foods every two hours. Good meals could be steak, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Berries, chocolate or yogurt parfaits are good desserts. Chicken stir fry with loads of vegetables is an excellent lunch;

• Ice your muscles often. If you are having severe muscle pain during the race, immediately go to the medical tent to ice your muscles. After returning home from the race, ice your muscles with ice packs or (preferably) an ice bath. Ice baths soothe microscopic muscle damage and inflammation. Sit in a 54-60-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath for 6-12 minutes. 30-60 minutes afterward, take a warm shower.

• Stretch correctly after the race. After finishing the race, walk for 10-15 minutes and perform very light stretching. During the next day, perform light stretching and a light warm-up (biking or a warm shower).

• Get a massage a few days after the race. Use caution during the first 48 hours after the race, as your muscles are very sensitive. If you get a massage, schedule it for a few days after the race. Make sure it is a flushing (light) massage and be sure the therapist knows that you just ran a marathon.

• Perform low-impact, low-intensity exercise after the race. Only start exercising when you are feeling ready. This can take up to a month. Cycling, the elliptical and exercises in the pool (swimming, underwater running) are ideal;

• Wait 5-7 days after the race before running again. Begin with decreased intensity on soft surfaces and don’t run more than 25 percent of your peak weekly mileage. A good rule of thumb is: perform one week of reduced intensity training for every hour;

“Feeling sore after a marathon is normal; but pain and swelling are the body’s ways of indicating that something is wrong,” says Brian Halpern, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery and author of Men’s Health Best Sports Medicine Handbook. “The best way to handle almost every sports injury is the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.”

Hospital for Special Surgery is the Official Hospital to the New York Road Runners for the ING New York City Marathon, NYC Half and the Oakley New York Mini 10K.

About the NYC Half
NYRR’s flagship half-marathon, in its eighth running, will air live locally on WABC-TV from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and concurrently stream live on ESPN3. NYRR’s On the Run broadcast will air on www.nyrr.org at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, with a post-race recap Sunday evening.

The NYC Half will offer 15,000 runners a spectacular 13.1 mile tour of Manhattan as they race through Central Park to Times Square, along the Hudson River waterfront to finish in lower Manhattan. The race continues to attract prominent professional athletes and thousands of recreational runners from around the world. This year's race is “More than a Run,” offering runners and their family, friends, and fans ways to get involved, give back, and have fun.

 

About HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery
HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the ninth consecutive year) and No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report (2018-2019). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the country and was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State. In 2017 HSS provided care to 135,000 patients and performed more than 32,000 surgical procedures. People from all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries travelled to receive care at HSS. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The culture of innovation is accelerating at HSS as 130 new idea submissions were made to the Global Innovation Institute in 2017 (almost 3x the submissions in 2015). The HSS Education Institute is the world’s leading provider of education on the topic on musculoskeletal health, with its online learning platform offering more than 600 courses to more than 21,000 medical professional members worldwide. Through HSS Global Ventures, the institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.

 

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