The minute you finish your marathon, your recovery begins
First of all, let’s begin with a congratulations and a good meal. You have completed your marathon. Its now time to take care of yourself and this part is as important as all the training you have done in preparation for your marathon. These tips are all about recovery up to a week after a marathon race or event, then you cna think about your next challenge.
So you have just crossed the finish line and first thought may be to find the nearest seat or just lay down, but try to keep moving for at least 5-10 minutes after finishing to slowly bring your heart rate back to normal. This constant movement is preferred over immediate static stretching as you don’t want to irritate fatigued and damaged muscle fibres.
Within an hour of completing your marathon it’s time to replace all the carbohydrates you have used up in the last 26.2 miles. Within 2 hours of completion eat a balance of protien (for muscle recovery) carbs (for energy storage) & veg (nutrients) in and keep hydrated. Water is the best option, although a 1/3 orange juice, 2/3 water and a sprinkle of salt is a fantastic home made option too. It is wise to avoid staying in your running clothes, which may be damp from wether or from sweat – get warm and keep moving.
After your celebrations with family and friends, a meal and drink or two then a power nap for around 90 minutes can be hugely beneficial to your recovery and it will help promote muscle repair. Essentially form such a long event you will have a good amount of muscle damage that has been placed on your body, and it is keen to begin the repair job as quickly as possible. Help get yourself moving and bakc in great shape quickly. If you are only experiencing muscle soreness avoid the temptation to take painkillers, let your body recover naturally.
In the week after the marathon there are steps you can take each day to ensure you get the best recovery. In the first 4-5 days you can try active recovery (plenty of ideas throughout the blog and website to help with this) especially in the swimming pool to aid the recovery and control the delayed muscle soreness. Alternatively, you can try a sports massage (light, you don’t want to add to the muscle damage you are just trying to hlep shift the toxins away from the muscles) to help with further release and recovery.
A week after the marathon, after all your recovery efforts you should be ok to try a test run of up to 30 minutes. Use this run to see how your body feels and if there are any areas that feel sore or achy as this is an indicator to continue with your recovery or seek medical advice. ou may have an injury that requires attention and treatment but take those steps to settle the pain down fully so you cna get back to your best quickly. If you feel great on the test run congratulations you are ready to ease your way back to training and your next challenge and new goals with modified training and recovery methods.