– After the race keep moving after your complete your marathon for 5 – 10 minutes to get rid of stiffness and gradually bring back your heart rate to resting state
– Rehydrate with an energy drink or an electrolyte such as ORS
– It will be ideal if you can change and get into dry clothes
– Do some mild stretches of your core group of muscles that must have gone through severe strain and tear. Stretch gently your quads, hams, glutes, calf, IT Band, back and your (inner thighs) spend atleast 15 minutes for all with 20 seconds of stretch to each and every muscle.
– Re-fuel with a healthy breakfast containing proteins and carbohydrates within 30 minutes. Sample diet could be eggs, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, banana, fruits, smoothly, oats, coconut water, nuts and raisins.
– Ensure you are hydrating at frequent intervals throughout the day to compensate for the colossal loss of water and fluids that your body has been subjected to during the entire period you ran a marathon
– Use a foam roller to release all the tight spots and fascia and stretch for another 10 mins if you can specially the ones that you would do lying down which you would have missed it post race.
– Taking an ice bath definitely reduces all the inflammation and helps in quick recovery if ice bath is not possible apply ice to your core group of muscles.
– Take a shower and wear a compression recovery socks for 24 hours it aids in quick recovery, enhanced circulation and lactate clearance after activity.
– This also helps in a situation where you need to travel after a marathon. I have just started using them and find it very useful.
– Rest for an hour or two stay off your feet
– Go to a SPA and get a massage avoid deep tissue massage as your muscles would be tender hence vigorous massage can do more harm than relax your muscles.
– Celebrate and Party stay mobile keep walking, eat well.
– In the night, before you sleep roll using a foam roller, stretch muscles which are tight specifically for 5-10 mins and take a hot shower bath not only you will sleep well you will get up with minimal soreness
– Next Day apart from eating high protein diet and focusing on recovering through a healthy diet of carbs and proteins repeat rolling and stretching morning and evening, focus on active recovery such as a walk, swimming to flush out the lactate. Have an easy day.
– Second day do a bit of dynamic warm-ups and light exercises followed by a walk. Rolling and stretching to continue morning and evening.
– Third day you would have recovered by now do walking, stretching.
– Fourth day do a slow jog of no more than 3-5 km with warm-up and stretches post jog.
– You would have fully recovered by now continue with cross training and keep your running mileage low and gradually enhance it over a period of 2-3 weeks. Few weeks of low mileage will not impact your fitness level infact on the contrary will make you stronger for your next challenge making you stay injury-free, feeling good and enjoying yourself.
Written by Suresh Srinivasan
Suresh is a regular marathon runner, health food lover who loves to stay fit and explore new cultures.