- Re-fuel! Right after crossing the finish line you need to re-fuel in some way. Running 26.2 miles depletes your body of nutrients and you need to replenish those as soon as you can. I usually drink a sports drink at the finish line and grab the fruit that is available (usually bananas or oranges). Then I try to drink a protein shake or chocolate milk within an hour of finishing. Now...I usually do not want to eat. But I know I will feel horrible if I don't so I make myself.
- Stretch, Ice, and Roll! Don't forget to stretch after crossing the finish line. It's easy to remember to do this after training runs but after a race it's harder to remember because you are so excited about finishing. Then ice! I love to take ice baths but sometimes that's not easy when you're staying in a hotel with 4 other girls! I try to grab ice packs and ice my knees or if any other part of my body hurts worse than the other parts then I will ice it. And I never forget to roll out those sore muscles. It hurts but hurts so good!
- Walk! You've just finished running 26.2 miles...the last thing you feel like doing is walking. But sitting still is only going to make your muscles tighter and sorer. Yes...you will probably be walking funny...but it will cut down on your recovery time. After my shower I headed to Downtown Disney and shopped...I was walking slow but it kept my muscles loose.
- Rest! Don't expect to come home and return right to your normal running routine. In fact...you need to give your body at least 4 days of no running in my opinion. Your muscles need to be able to recover from 26.2 miles. Normally I take at least one complete week off from running.
- Take it easy! When you decide to run again...take it easy! Don't go out there and run 15 miles because your body feels good. Take it slow and work yourself back up in mileage.
And just for fun....here's a hilarious video showing you what it's like the day after a marathon!!!! ;-)
QOTD: Do you have any more tips for marathon recovery?