Two years ago, I ran the 118th Boston Marathon. It was one of the most exhilarating, emotional and symbolic experiences in my life. But…my journey did not end there. I continued to run California International Marathon, Maui Oceanfront Marathon and RunDisney’s Super Heroes Avengers Half Marathon in the months ahead.
Each race was different but with a common value and practice: recovery. Crossing that finish line is not the be all end all of the marathon. Recovering from a race is just as important as training for one if you intend on getting back on your feet for the next one.
Here are the top 5 tips that have guided me through post-marathon recovery. Follow these and you’ll be back on the road, logging miles and getting ready for an even better race ahead!
- Get on moving! As tempting as it may seem, collapsing on your ever-so-comfy couch or bed the second you get home from the race is only going to make your muscles tighter and even more sore. Take a shower, walk around every 30 minutes or so to loosen up those muscles. While it might hurt or ache, doing so will cut down on recovery time.
- Ice, ice baby! Immediately after my race, I head straight to the medical tent to ice my knees, shins, ankles, calves or whatever hurts. This might ache a little, but will make you feel infinitely better the next day.
- Re-fuel Your Body! After a marathon, your body needs to refuel and rehydrate. After depleting and taxing your body for 26.2 miles, your body needs a reboot of nutrients. So remember to increase your intake of electrolytes, water and proteins. My favorites are coconut water with supplements of chocolate protein shakes.
- Soak It Away! By far one of my favorites to do after a race. Treat yourself once or twice a day, every day for the first week with an Epsom salt bath. High in magnesium and sulfate, Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant and anti-inflammation remedy that can be used to treat sore muscles and speed up recovery. My recommendation: Dr. Teals Eucalyptus Epsom Salt.
- Rest & Take Baby Steps! A few days after your marathon, you might start to feel the spring in your step. But hold on! Don’t get restless and start lacing up your shoes too quickly for a 15-mile run the week after your race just because you feel back to normal. Your body needs adequate time to recover, and if you don’t, you are more susceptible to injuries. Ease your way into those long runs, and kick it off with a fewer miles.