Running a marathon is no small feat. It requires determination, endurance and thorough preparation to achieve the goal. In order to last the pace – and recover quickly after the exertion – it’s important to understand what happens to your body during those demanding 26.2 miles and what you can do to stay on track before, during and after the event.

What Happens Inside Your Body?

As you lace up of running shoes and take your first steps, your body kicks into high gear. Your heart rate increases, pumping oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. Your breathing becomes deeper and faster, supplying your body with the oxygen it requires to keep going. And with each stride, your muscles contract and expand, propelling you forward.

But running a marathon isn’t just a physical challenge—it’s a test of endurance for your entire body. As you push yourself mile after mile, your muscles start to fatigue, your energy stores begin to diminish and your body temperature rises…this is where hydration plays a crucial role.

Importance of Hydration

This cannot be stressed enough! Hydration isn’t just about drinking water—it’s about maintaining the delicate balance of fluids and electrolytes (minerals that have an electric charge when dissolved in water or body fluids) in your body. Before you even step foot on the course, it’s essential to hydrate properly. Sipping water regularly throughout your marathon helps ensure your muscles are adequately hydrated and your body functions at its best.
During the marathon, you lose fluids through sweat and respiration, which can lead to dehydration if not replenished. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness and even heatstroke—all of which will reduce your race performance and can be very serious.

Quenching Thirst vs. Cellular Hydration

Quenching your thirst is important, but it’s not enough to keep your body properly hydrated during a marathon. Thirst is your body’s way of signalling that it needs fluids but the beginnings of being dehydrated will already have started. And simply drinking water doesn’t necessarily indicate that your cells are being adequately hydrated.
To truly hydrate your body at a cellular level, you need to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium play a vital role in regulating fluid balance, muscle function and nerve signalling. Unsurprisingly, if they are not working well, your body can’t perform at its best. Never mind putting it through the stress and demands of running a marathon!

The Dangers of Overhydration

While staying hydrated is crucial, drinking too much water can be just as dangerous as not drinking enough. Overhydration, also known as hyponatremia, occurs when the sodium levels in your blood become too diluted. This can lead to nausea, confusion, seizures and even coma in severe cases. Taking on the right amount of water and fluids before, and during, your race is of paramount importance.

Replacing Electrolytes and Nutrients

After crossing the finish line, your body is in need of serious replenishment. In addition to fluids, it’s essential to replace lost electrolytes, sugars and salts. Sports drinks and electrolyte supplements will help restore your body’s balance and aid in recovery. Shop carefully! Some ‘energy drinks’ are very high in sugar and caffeine and lack the delicate balance of electrolytes, salts, minerals and vitamins.

Running a marathon is a serious business. You’ve planned your training over many months; you need to do serious research when it comes to the type of fluid you are putting into your body to ensure you are rehydrating and replenishing your mineral levels as best you can.

Running such a long distance puts your body under extra strain and often extra measures can help achieve optimal recovery. This is where therapies like ozone therapy, performance and recovery IV drips come into play.

Ozone Therapy

A recovery option gaining popularity among athletes is ozone therapy which involves the administration of ozone—a highly reactive form of oxygen—into the body.

Ozone therapy is believed to have several benefits for athletic recovery, these include:

  • reducing inflammation
  • increasing oxygen delivery to tissues
  • enhancing immune function

By promoting circulation and oxygenation, ozone therapy can help speed up the healing process and reduce recovery time following intense physical exertion, such as running a marathon.

IV Drip Therapy

IV drip therapy involves the intravenous administration of fluids, vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream. This allows for rapid absorption and can help rehydrate the body more effectively than oral intake alone. IV drips tailored for post-marathon recovery often contain electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants to replenish nutrients lost during intense physical activity.

Bypassing the digestive system, IV drip therapy delivers essential nutrients directly to your cells, helping to speed up the recovery process. This can lead to reduced muscle soreness, improved energy levels and enhanced overall recovery.

Don’t forget your water bottle!

While IV drip therapy and ozone therapy can offer potential benefits for recovery, these specialist therapies won’t help people outrun a poor diet! It is essential not to overlook good hydration through water and good nutrition through food in the run up to and following a marathon.

Additional therapies like IV drip and ozone therapy can provide an extra boost to help people bounce back faster and stronger. By combining these strategies, marathon runners can optimise their recovery and get back on the road to success.