people running a marathon

How To Recover From A Marathon

people running a marathon

A marathon is an epic 26.2-mile running race hailed as the pinnacle of running fitness. The training leading into the race and the marathon itself can severely affect and deplete your body. Proper recovery is critical to maintaining your health and passion for the sport. This article will cover the basics of how to recover post-marathon, from training through the execution of your race, so you can get the most out of your experience.

Preparing for Recovery

Running the 26.2-mile distance is an impressive feat. Whether you are looking to run a marathon once or if you are looking to compete regularly, proper preparation is critical for your success. Going into a marathon without the appropriate training and practice is a recipe for disaster. Finding a training program that suits your lifestyle and keeping to it can help prepare your muscles for the grueling task.

On the morning of your marathon, it is vital to have a tried and tested hydration and nutrition plan in place. These approaches are unique to everyone and can vary based on the individual. There are a variety of different methods you can take for proper hydration and nutrition while running.

Professional runners often count the required amount of water to the ounce, while their nutrition program is a unique blend of carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, and fats. Several products on the market are available for runners, but it is essential to experiment during your training to find the best fit for your needs. On the day of the marathon, it is important not to introduce anything new to your routine.

Immediately After the Marathon

Once you have crossed the finish line, lying down and not moving for as long as possible can be tempting. However, it is essential to give yourself a proper cooldown. That includes walking to reduce your heart rate and allow the lactic acid in your muscles to be properly flushed.

man finishing a marathon

Several vendors may be on hand at the finish line of your marathon. You may be able to find a massage therapist to help stretch your muscles and accelerate your recovery. Additionally, take advantage of the food and hydration available at the end of your race.

Ensuring you get nutrients back into your body immediately following the race gives your body what it needs to repair the damage. While preparing for the race is likely to take up significant mental space, it is also essential to think about how to recover from a marathon

Rest and Sleep

Once you have completed your marathon, sleep may be your immediate desire and requirement. Allowing your body to rest after such a draining physical experience is crucial. The location of your marathon may be a city or region you are unfamiliar with, but strolling around the city sightseeing will likely be the furthest thing from your mind after such a draining run.

man sleeping

Allow yourself a recuperative nap, and plan on spending the remainder of your day eating, rehydrating, and sleeping. In the days following your race, sleep will continue to be a critical aspect of your healing process.

Physical Therapy and Active Recovery

Physical therapy is often utilized following the completion of a marathon to help stretch the muscles, maintain mobility, and ensure your body is recovering. Additionally, suppose you have any nagging discomfort or suffer an injury on the run. In that case, a physical therapist can evaluate you and ensure you get on track for a clean bill of health.

man getting a back massage from a therapist

Upon completing your marathon, resuming your training regimen and looking to increase performance can be tempting. However, consider active recovery techniques for the first one to three weeks following your race. Active recovery incorporates low-intensity runs of varying distances into your routine to help your muscles maintain strength while healing. Opting for low-impact activities, such as water aerobics or swimming, can be helpful during this time to help keep you active without overworking your muscles.

Nutrition for Recovery

Determining your race nutrition is a common theme, but some runners must remember to plan for their race recovery nutrition. However, nutrition is critical for those wanting to know how to recover from a race quickly. Immediately following the race, focusing on getting enough hydration and electrolytes back into your system is essential.

healthy food laid over on a wooden table and placed into bowls.

Focus on drinks and foods with a higher salt content to help immediately replenish the salts and hydration you lost through running sweat.

After this initial replenishing phase, you can transition to a different approach for refueling your body with foods containing higher protein levels to help muscles recover and carbohydrates to restore those lost during the run.

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Once your race is complete, you will likely experience a range of pain and discomfort. It is essential to distinguish your symptoms from normal muscle pain and fatigue between a possible injury.

Back pain

Usually, you can use various approaches to deal with the pain, including cold and hot therapy, baths with Epsom salts, massage, stretching, and balms or salves. Additionally, many runners opt for ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce their discomfort.

Returning to Exercise

Your ability to return to your regular workout routine depends on various factors. Some of these include marathon preparation and recovery. It is important to continue staying active following your race. Take a walk the day following your run, and include extensive stretching.

man running a marathon and drinking water

You can start back into running and other exercises as you feel ready, but it is important to ease back into your training plan. Listen to your body during this time and be aware of new pain that could signal an injury.

Mental Health and Recovery

Running 26.2 miles takes a toll on your physical health, and a marathon can be mentally exhausting and draining as well. Many runners can find that the emotional high of completing a marathon may be less present after completing several.

If you are struggling with your emotional state after your run, involving a mental health professional to help process your emotions can be a great approach to mentally recovering after a marathon.

photo of brain

Preventing Future Injuries

Marathon runners can develop a variety of different running-related injuries. These include foot, ankle, knee, leg, hip, and back injuries. Running takes a significant toll on our bodies, and the continued pounding of your joints against the road or concrete can create damage.

A female athlete helping a male athlete with his leg injury.

Preventing injuries is primarily related to your preparation, including frequent strength training targeted at runners or changing the location of your runs.

Adding trail runs to your regular training schedule or water aerobics can help to improve your body’s ability to adapt.

Last Words

As you plan to complete your marathon, think beyond the finish line. Taking a few moments to ensure you have the equipment needed for recovery can help speed the process and get you back on the road quickly. Additionally, your healing process can help keep your mindset fine-tuned to continue your running journey long into the future.

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Recovery IV - Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in our Recovery IV treatment?

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How does a Recovery IV treatment speed up flu recovery?

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How does a Recovery IV treatment help athletes perform at their best?

Recovery IV treatments can help athletes perform at their best by providing the body with essential fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients that can support the body's natural recovery processes and improve physical performance. The fluids help hydrate the body, while the electrolytes can help to bring back the balance of minerals in the body and support proper muscle and nerve function. The nutrients such as amino acids and vitamins, can help to support muscle repair and rebuilding, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, and support the immune system.

How does a Recovery IV treatment help post workout muscle recovery?

Recovery IV treatments can help with post-workout muscle recovery by providing the body with essential fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients that can support the muscle repair and rebuilding process. The fluids can help to hydrate the body and replace any fluids that may have been lost through sweat during the workout, while the electrolytes can help to balance the levels of minerals in the body and support proper muscle function. The nutrients provided through the IV, such as amino acids and vitamins, can help to support the muscle repair and rebuilding process and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

Read More: Recovery IV FAQ