Recovery following a marathon is one of the more critical aspects of running the long race. However, unfortunately it is also one of the aspects that tends to be undervalued the most. Let’s face it, after you manage to finish a marathon, you simply want it all to be over. You don’t want to have to think about what needs to be done to allow your body to recover properly so that you will be able to resume your training in the near future. The following are some important things you can do to help you recover after running a marathon.
Keep walking. Once you have crossed the finish line, instead of dropping to your knees and collapsing, keep walking instead. Your body has been running for 26.2 miles. When you finish the race, it is in marathon mode still, and needs to go through a transition phase. So just keep walking. When you do that, your heart rate will be able to drop gradually, lactic acid will be flushed from your muscles, and your circulation will revert back to a resting state. Walk for 10 to 15 minutes – back to your cab, hotel or car – after finishing the marathon.
Have something to eat and drink. Eat a small snack within 30 to 60 minutes of finishing the race. Your large meal should be saved for later on after your appetite has returned. Right after the race you just want to get in about 200 to 300 easy-to-digest calories from protein and carbohydrates in order to repair muscle tissue, replenish muscle glycogen and maintain your blood sugar levels.
– Soak in a cold bath for 5 to 10 minutes. You may also want to wear compression tights. They can both help to decrease the inflammation in your legs and help to speed up the healing process.
– Do some stretches. Gently stretching your legs and body will help to refresh your circulation and help your muscles to recover.
– Take a break. Give your body plenty of time to recover before training and running again. Some marathon runners take an entire month off to recover and do some cross training.