by Dr. Cathlin Fitzgerald, PT, DPT, CSCS

Recommendations for rest and recovery after a marathon vary widely across professionals and depend greatly on the individual marathoner. Then you can break it down even further; when is the cardiovascular system recovered? Muscles? Hormones? The list goes on and on!

A recent study out of the European Journal of Sports Science examined the effects of a marathon on the foot structure of eleven college level runners. Measurements of the runners’ feet were taken before, immediately after the marathon, and 1, 3, and 8 days after the marathon. The measurements taken included “navicular height” and “arch height ratio.” These are values that represent how high the arch of your foot is, and therefore how the mechanics of your individual foot can change if these values change.

Results of this study showed that even at 8 days out from the marathon, runners’ navicular height and arch height ratio measurements were decreased as compared to their baselines. This indicates it may take over a week for your foot alignment to recover from a marathon.

This serves as a good reminder that marathon recovery goes beyond muscle soreness and cardiovascular recovery. Recovery is necessary in your training cycles in order to prevent injury and avoid overtraining, which will improve your performance!

Fukano M Inami T Nakagawa K Narita T Iso S. “Foot posture alteration and recovery following a marathon run”. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018; 18(10): 1338-1345.