Recovering after a Marathon
The body's efforts during the run can go from high to maximal; after having trained for the race for so long, you want – and rightfully so – to give it all you can on the "Day of Judgment."
The goal after the marathon is to cause the body to recover as quickly as possible and return to a training routine after having recuperated, painlessly.
Take into account that not only one's body has to recover but rather, one's head is also in need of mental rest following a marathon.
That being the case, take to heart these important tips from Michal Raguan, who has enjoyed running marathons for 13 years and counting.
Water, and Plenty of It! Immediately after finishing the marathon, after getting your pulse rate back to normal, it's important to drink water and restore fluids to your body. Drink water regularly in the ensuing days to be able to return fluids to your body and minimize muscle tightness.
Nutrition – It's not always possible to eat right after a race, the digestive system having worked hard which causes at times a lack of appetite, but it’s important to eat even something small containing proteins and carbs. During the course of physical activity, muscles break down; they are then rebuilt after resting and getting proper nutrition. Even a yogurt and an apple will do the job! Then, later, after having recovered a bit, you can eat a full meal that includes a combination of the main food groups (don't forget to drink water during the meal).
Rest - Avoid partaking in intense exercise during the week after the race (marathon runners can also refrain for two weeks).
Give your body rest, do light runs. Perhaps some of you will want to get back to running fast right away because you had a great run or alternatively, because you didn't achieve the desired goal and you want to "compensate," but hold your horses! Give your body some TLC with light runs, low blood pressure – you can even go bike riding a little. It's called "active rest."
By the way, resting for a number of days without running at all will be more than welcome to your body.
Stretches – The more intense the race was for you, the better it is to stretch at a later point so as not to hurt your tendons by stretching. Stretch in the evening while watching TV; it's best to stretch for at least 20 minutes.
Massage – This can really help your recovery. Just let the massage therapist know that you’ve run a marathon, because then s/he will know how to relate to your body and which areas to accentuate.
Good luck with your recovery and kudos for making it!