5 tips on how to recover from your first ever marathon
How should you prepare yourself for recovery after your marathon
Yes, after months of training and getting ready for your first ever marathon, you are at the starting line. Your adrenaline stress hormone increase. Your adrenaline is up to the roof. Your mind starting to play jedi mind tricks, doubting your months of preparation. The finishing line is so far away. The last thing on your mind is the recovery after your marathon.
We are sharing 5 tips on how to recover from your first ever marathon. Normally, runners prepare themselves for the marathon itself. The training. The nutrition plan. The mind game. But quite rarely, a runner plan for the most important part – the recovery after the marathon.
Recovering from a marathon is a critical component to a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. It would be considered very unfortunate if you don’t properly recover from your marathon, your injury risk will increase. Especially so when you week in – week out participating in marathon events (yes, we know it hard to resist registering to an event). It will surely limit your long term potential.
Regardless of whether you are a weekend warrior or even an elite runner. Running is a high intensity sports. It pushes your body to the max. Soreness and achiness find its way even to the elitist. So, if it is your first marathon, have a plan to recover. It could be your resting time, your meal post marathon or even your immediate thing to do once you crossed the finish line (other than grabbing your finisher medal!)
What happens to your body after running a marathon?
The picture of a runner are not able to walk the stairs after running a marathon is pretty common. This is due to intense muscle fatigue and soreness which needs time to heal and recover.
Our immune system is severely compromised, which increases the risk of contracting colds and the flu after running a marathon especially until 3 days after the race.
The best thing to do is to rest as much as possible and focus on a healthy diet with nutrient-rich foods plus a lot of water.
So, here we are to the main point of this article. The 6 tips on how to recover from your first ever marathon.
Tip No 1 – Walk It Out
The first thing on our mind after crossing the finishing line would be to find the best spot to sit or lay down and take a breather. Do Not Do That!! Right after a marathon, you should continue to move to help reduce any stiffness. If you were in a full marathon, then walking for at least a 1-2 kilometres or 15 minutes would be sufficient to aid recovery. So, it is a good thing if you have to park your car a bit further. Your body will appreciate the walk. Additional Tips – Stretch after a run can do wonders. Focus on your lower body. Main Goal – To keep your blood circulating to help repair torn or damaged muscles
Tip No 2 – Change for a better recovery
Try your best to change to dry and warm clothes as soon as you can. Yes, of course, go ahead with your post-race selfies and wefies. But try to keep it quick and brief. You will feel a lot better putting in new dry clothes or fresh pair of socks and shoes (not sandals). By then, your feet are most probably swollen. Main Goal – to control body temp to aid recovery
Tip No 3 – Find something to eat, quickly
Find something to eat, quickly (ideally 30 minutes after running) Try to find something to eat. You’d want to find food that has protein and potassium. Fruits like bananas are good in aiding your recovery. They are easy to digest with good amount of sugar and natural electrolytes. A convenient way to carry along a few energy bars. Get energy bars that have good amount of carbs, sodium, potassium and calcium. One such bar is the Hutan Ration’s Recovery Series bar, the Sea Salt Almond Figs. It has the right natural ingredients to aid recovery with good amount of electrolytes and carbs. Main Goal – to replenish glycogen supplies and electrolytes as well as to facilitate muscle repair and recovery.
Tip No 4 – Drink lots and lots of water.
Your body has lost lots of fluids through out the run. Replenishment for fluids is Sports drinks are good. There are many off the shelf sports drinks and brands that you could buy. Or if you would like to go the natural way, coconut water is considered one of the best recovery drinks. Post run also means you ll need quick calories with protein. An option to consider would be chocolate milk. Chocolate Milk helps to rehydrate, replenish glycogen and stored carbs as well as aiding muscle recovery. Try to avoid caffeine as it dehydrates you further. Main Goal – to rehydrate, replenish glycogen supplies and facilitate muscle repair
Tip No 5 – Shower Time
Once you reach home, you should really consider an ice bath. Fill your bath tub with ice and cold water and submerge your lower body for 15 minutes. You don’t need the water too cold. 10- to 15-minute ice baths the first three to five days post-race will do wonders for muscle soreness. After your ice bath, you can take a nap or walk around to try and loosen the legs. Main Goal – To reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery
At this point, you’ve done about all you can do. Give yourself a pat on the back for a successful day. Relax and relish in your accomplishment on your first ever marathon. Congratulation is in order.