Straight After the Race
Take in the cheers as you cross the finish line, get your medal, have those all important photos take, because if you don’t get a new Facebook profile picture then did you even run a marathon? But, most importantly keep walking, you may want to drop to your knees and curl up in a ball but this is the worst thing you can do. Your body is still in marathon mode, by walking your heart rate will gradually drop, your circulation returns to its resting state and flushes out any lattice aside from your muscles. Walk around for a good 15 - 20 minutes.
During the first 30 - 60 minutes after your race you must eat a small snack which a high glycemic level. A few hours after your race you need to eat a large meal that is rich is carbohydrates and protein. The proteins are essential is recovering your muscles and the fates. Some pasta or rice with chicken or turkey is the perfect example
Foam rolling and a sports massage can aid your recovery after the marathon. Afterwards, wait some time, around 2 - 6 hours, before you foam roll after your marathon and at least 24 hours for a sports massage. This will give your muscles time to recover from the demands of the race.
The days following your marathon are just as important as before. Running 42.195km places a high demand on your body and you’re likely to end up with depleted fuel stores, dehydration and damaged muscle. Some runners even report feeling depressed in the days after the marathon. There is no formula for calculating how long your body will take to recover, everybody is different. Those who have ran previous long distance races and marathons can expect to bounce back quickly than those who are a first time marathon runner.
- Muscles - Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can occur around eight or more hours after your race and last for up to a week. To help with muscle soreness in the first 24 hours you can apply ice (wrapped in cloth) to the areas of your legs which are painful, do this for up to 12 minutes at a time. Also, elevate your feet and legs for a least an hour and continue this for 30 minutes each day in the week following the marathon.
- Lacking Energy - It is normal to be lacking energy post marathon. Try to eat food rich in carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen reserves and food rich in protein to help repair your bodies muscles and tissue which may have become damaged. Make sure you indulge in any cravings you may have, this is your bodies way of informing you of what it needs. You have just ran a marathon after all so treat yourself.
- Weight Gain - For those of you who keep track of your weight you may notice a small weight gain after the marathon. Don’t worry this is normal and is most likely water retention as your muscles repair and rebuild themselves after the marathon. Don’t let this small weight gain tempt you to start or resume a diet. Your body requires lots of nutrients to recover from the stress of the race. If you are still gaining weight after a week of recovery then you may need to consider adjusting your intake to suit your new activity levels as you now will be doing much less running and exercise than when you were training for the marathon.