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7 Pains To Expect After Running a Marathon

After joggling any marathon there are a variety of pains you’ll no doubt experience. Fresh off joggling the 2007 Chicago Marathon, I took note of all the pains felt and how long they last. Hopefully, this helps you prepare for your first or second marathon.

Note: I’m a joggler, not a doctor. Don’t take any of this as a substitute for a trained professional will tell you. If your pain is really bad, go to your doctor!

7 Marathon Induced Pains

  1. Sore joints : You just spent 3, 4, or even 5 hours engaging in a repetitive motionjuggling joggling running pain and that can wreck havoc on your joints. It should come as no surprise to feel pain in your knees, shoulder sockets, elbows, wrists, hips and ankles. Joggling makes it worse for your arms.
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    How long it lasts
    – You’ll experience joint pain when you stop running. Maximum pain will come later that night. The next morning will hurt like hell too. The pain will last for up to 2 days.
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    What I do – Take a few Ibuprofen every few hours or just suck it up. Lying on the couch and not moving helps too.
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  2. Sore Muscles : Some people get sore muscles just walking up the stairs so experiencing them after a marathon should come as no surprise. The most common muscle pain locations include your thighs, calves, forearms, shoulders and upper back. Marathon joggling helps create throbbing pains in your upper back.
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    How long it lasts
    – Expect to start feeling these pains around mile 15. They will continue to hurt when you finish and for the next 3 days. The pain will be worst during the morning and afternoon of the next day. It’ll feel a bit better the day after that.
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    What I do
    – Muscle pain is caused by the buildup of lactic acid so getting those muscles moving again will help clear them out. Go for an easy 1 or 2 mile walk the next day. Then stretch for a few minutes. Keep walking each day until the muscle pain is gone. And if it bugs you too much, take some acetaminophen.
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  3. Chafing – Despite your best efforts, you no doubt missed some spots with your Body Glide or it wore off during the marathon. This will result in that ever annoying chafing. Expect some in your butt crack, thighs, and nipples.
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    How long it lasts
    : You’ll first feel this pain about a half hour after you stop running. The other pains feel much worse by comparison. It’ll annoy you for one day.
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    What to do : You can put more Body Glide or petroleum jelly on the effected spots. Also, be sure to get out of any wet clothes. Moisture + chaffing = pain!
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  4. Blisters : Some people get blisters on their feet and toes. Luckily, I don’t but my sister and the Brewmaster do. Keeping your socks dry can help prevent them.
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    How long it lasts
    : If you develop one it’ll happen after mile 8 or so. By mile 20 it’ll start to really hurt. Like chafing this pain will pale in comparison to muscle and joint pain. It should be gone in a day or two.
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    What to do : No advice here as I’ve never gotten one from running. Just try hard not to poke at it.
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  5. Headache : This pain is a result of dehydration and it almost always happens at the end of your marathon. For me, it’s in the low back portion of my head and it throbs.
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    How long it lasts : You’ll notice this pain right away but it’ll only last a few hours as long as you rehydrate.
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    What I do : Drink lots of water and Gatorade and take a couple of pain relievers.
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  6. Stomach Ache : Not sure why this happens but you can expect to feel stomach pains during and after your run. If you’re lucky it’ll just be a mild pain. Some people feel it so bad they puke. God I love running!
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    How long it lasts : This pain should go away within an hour or two of finishing your marathon. Unfortunately, it makes eating a big cheeseburger & fries after the marathon harder.
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    What I do : Try to eat and drink what you can. This pain just takes time to heal.
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  7. Flare-up of chronic pains : Over the months of marathon training you will experience minor injuries that never quite heal. After running a marathon these pains will make themselves known. For me it’s Achilles tendonitis and a groin pull.
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    How long it lasts
    : This depends on the pain. Tendonitis can last weeks but the major pain will be gone within 3 days. A pulled muscle will continue to hurt for a week.
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    What I do
    : Not much except rest. These pains have been with you for a while. Rest and a little stretching is the best thing you can do.

While running or joggling a marathon is a tremendously rewarding experience, don’t let anyone kid you. It hurts! But as I like to say…

Pain reminds us we’re alive

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Steve October 12, 2007, 9:08 am

    I experience all but # 5 .. Thanks for that post !

  • crossn81 October 12, 2007, 9:12 am

    I always drain my blisters afterwards, it helps them feel more comfortable and in my opinion helps them heal quicker. I’ve never popped one during a race though… Excellent post. A good post race massage does wonders as well!

  • Bob Allen October 12, 2007, 8:42 pm

    Good post — helpful. I haven’t run a marathon but did my first half-marathon a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty fortunate — I only had the headache (dull ache, kinda’ all over) and sore muscles (hip adductors and gluteus maximus). The headache was gone by the next morning; sore muscles were fine after 3-4 days.

  • Amy October 14, 2007, 3:02 pm

    I found your article through the link on Bob’s page – it is a really good one.

    Would you have any interest in posting it at the Runners’ Lounge in the know-how section and of course linking back to the original?

  • joggler October 15, 2007, 6:40 am

    I think my legs are finally done being sore from the marathon. It took a little longer to recover this time because I just kept training.

  • Kristin October 12, 2008, 6:34 pm

    You passed me in the chicago marathon today…!!!

  • Perry October 12, 2008, 7:17 pm

    @Kristin

    Congratulations on a great race. It was hot wasn’t it?

  • Kristin October 13, 2008, 11:58 pm

    yea but not as bad as last year!! congrats to you too!

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