You have just completed one of the toughest races of the sporting calendar. A true test of the human body’s physiological limits.

Some managed to surpass their previous best. Others had to fight through the psychological and physical barriers just to get to the finish. Others didn’t get to cross the line this time around. However it turned out, merely participating in such a gruelling event makes you a champion.

Lending a helping hand

As a public benefit organisation, the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) had the wellbeing of the runners in mind as they tended to the queue of limping race goers at the finish line and at the cordoned-off tent where physiotherapy services were being offered.

The tireless contribution of the qualified physiotherapists and students on the route brought some much-needed reprieve to the runners.

Expert insights on recovery

The South African Society of Physiotherapy have also supplied these tips on how to best recover. So put away those running shoes and make time to focus on self-care.

#1. Get enough rest and sleep

You have completed a vigorous training regimen and twelve hours of intense racing. Now, you must give your body time to recover, especially if you experienced extreme soreness and fatigue.

Sleep is key when it comes to muscle repair and allowing the body to reset itself. So hit the pillow and get some much-needed shut-eye.

READ MORE | Break Bad Bedtime Habits To Sleep Better

#2. Pay attention to potential injuries

Check to see if you haven’t encountered any injuries during the race. If you have picked up a niggle, consult with a physio for advice on how to best manage and support your injury.

READ MORE | Tame Tendon Trouble To Train On

#3. Attend to your muscular needs

While you may feel ready to get going immediately, your muscles may not. A good sports massage will assist your muscles with recovery. If possible, book a massage with a physio to attend to any muscular tensions you may have post-race.

READ MORE | 3 Steps To Boost Post-Workout Recovery For Endurance Athletes

#4. Avoid running for now

Before you think about running again, give yourself enough time to recover. If active recovery works best for you, try swimming or other low-impact activities instead.

READ MORE | Playing The Gains Game As An Endurance Athlete

#5. Start planning for next year’s marathon

If you weren’t one of the winners, you probably want to take on the challenge again. Between now and next year, spend some time reflecting on your performance, which areas you can improve on and work on those.

Effectively planning your race in advance will already place you in a better position by the time the next marathon comes round.

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#6. Listen to your body

While these tips are beneficial to most people, the fact remains that our bodies are different and, therefore, they recover differently. So, the best strategy is to listen to your body and attend to its needs. It will determine how quickly you can bounce back.