You’ve trained for the last few months, possibly a year, for this event and it is now over. You’ve done your marathon. Whatever time you completed it in, be proud that you have done something others only dream about. Now it’s time to focus on your recovery. You don’t want to be walking like an old woman for the next two weeks!
Don’t just stop after your marathon. You may want to but it won’t do your body any good. Let your muscles cool down gradually and your heart rate return to normal.
Your body still thinks you’re doing the marathon so give it time to adjust and go back to a resting state. You’ll be thankful later.
Don’t drink any alcohol tonight, as much as you’d love to. Instead, focus on replenishing all the water and salts that your body has lost. Sports drinks and water are perfect for this.
The sports drinks have all the glucose your body is going to need, as well as the salt mixture. This can help avoid dehydration and cramp from setting in.
Make sure you stretch your muscles and do a proper cool down session. You’ve just ran 26 miles and your body will feel it very soon.
You may want to just jump straight into the car and drive home but your muscles need time to cool down. If you don’t allow this, you run the risk of injury and the cramp will be much worse!
You took a snack with you for after the run, right? This should be something light but nutritious and eating within an hour of running.
It could be a banana, a nut bar or something else that will help to refuel the body and add in some of the sugars and salts that you’ve lost. A chocolate bar is better than nothing, but try to opt for the healthy options!
Run a bath, preferably cools, and soak your muscles. This will help to reduce any inflammation that can occur after such a race.
You could also invest in some compression tights to also aid avoid inflammation, but this isn’t a necessity. The cool bath just needs to be for 10 minutes and will make all the difference. You can have your long hot soak the day after!
You’ll be surprised by the amount your whole body hurts after a marathon. Invest in a good quality massage to get out all the kinks and ease your muscles.
If you have really bad knots, especially in your legs, a deep tissue massage is worthwhile—but beware, they can be painful!
Your body needs a break after this. You’ll feel it for at least a week, so allow yourself that time to heal.
If you really must stay active, consider swimming. This is easier on the body and will help to stretch your muscles.