The Successful Marathoners Guide To Recovery: Active Recovery, Massage, And Acupuncture (ARMA)

Posted on: 17 December 2015


Marathon running has experience a 300% growth in participation since 1990. If you are among this growing group of marathoners joining the 26.2 mile club this year, you know how hard you must train to be successful. What you might not know, however, is how tough it can be to recover from a marathon.

The three keys to recovering from a marathon include active recovery, massage, and acupuncture. This quick guide run you through the ARMA (Active Recovery, Massage, and Acupuncture) process:

Active Recovery

It takes over 55,000 individual strides to earn your finisher's medal. Each of these strides takes a toll on your body, which you're likely to feel immediately after and more noticeably the next day. This lingering soreness prompts runners to prop there feet up and take it easy for the next few days. 

Although propping your feet up after a marathon might seem intuitive, running and staying active might help you recover more quickly. This approach is called "active recovery".

Immediately After the Race: jogging for 5 to 10 minutes after you finish a marathon can pay major dividends in recovery process. Although you don't need to run fast, jogging after your marathon will circulate more blood to your legs, which will help begin to repair the muscle damage you sustain during the race.

One Day After: you likely to feel most sore the morning after your marathon. If did not sustain a serious injury during the race, you will want to walk or run 20 to 30 minutes the day after your marathon. 

Two to Six Days After: 2 to 6 days after your marathon are crucial to recovery. Running or walking 30 to 60 minutes a day promotes vigorous blood circulation and the endorphins your body use to generating through exercise. 

After six days you should consider taking a three to seven day break before resuming normal training. 


Although many marathoners use massage as a staple of their recovery and maintenance before their marathon, many skip the magic healing touch after the race. Scheduling an appointment with a trusted massage therapist at a clinic like Health Atlast Fountain Valley should be part of any marathoner's recovery plan. 

Because the marathon causes so much trauma to your legs, you are best served to wait a few days after crossing the finishing line. Additionally, you should ask your massage therapist for a 45 minutes or longer, deep tissue, massage. 

Although these types of massages aren't always pleasant, they will break-up any residual scar tissue that accumulated during your race or the training leading up to the race. 


For centuries, homeopathic healers have used acupuncture for a host of palliative remedies. More recently, a host of venerated Western medical institutions have validated the benefits of these tiny needles. After scheduling a visit with your massage therapist you should consider scheduling an appointment with an acupuncturist. 

When visiting an acupuncturist it's important to communicate that your recently finished a marathon and point out any lingering sore spots you still feel and/or felt during your training before the marathon. 

The best acupuncture treatments last between 45 and 90 minutes. After your visit with an acupuncturist it is critical that you go for a short, 15 to 20 minute, light walk or run. This gentle jaunt can help your body circulate the anti-inflammatory response each needle triggers. 

Crossing the finish line of the a marathon is a major accomplishment. When you finish the race, however, the race hasn't truly ended. Active recovery, massage, and acupuncture can help you complete the you successfully complete the process of running and recovering from and marathon.