Best Tips to Ultimate Recovery After Your First Marathon
However, if you are not aware that recovery is an essential component of a perfect training plan, you’re in trouble. If you don’t recover properly after your first marathon, there’s a high risk you’ll have limited training abilities, put yourself at risk of getting injured, and increase the recovery time.
If you want to run a marathon again and improve your further performance, you need to stay healthy, and the only way you can do that is with the proper recovery plan. That’s why we’ve decided to give you some marathon recovery tips that can help you quickly jump back into the training as soon as possible.
Here’s what you need to do to fully recover your muscles, nerves, and mind and avoid post-marathon fatigue.
Fueling during the race helps recovery
Proper fueling is the formula for a successful marathon race. Before you even get with your preparations, keep in mind that it is imperative to think ahead and create a fueling plan during the marathon. Carbs play a critical role in the body.
They can improve your physical performance and help you delay fatigue, a common problem for most marathon runners. Carbohydrates are the essential nutrients for every athlete, and they do the main job of rebuilding and increasing muscle potential.
Simply put, if you want to recover quickly and improve your performance, you need to consume carbs during the marathon. You’ll not only prevent muscle tissue injury, but you’ll also prevent your body from over-synthesizing proteins leaving you without enough energy to endure the race.
Walk and exercise lightly
If you want to keep your blood flowing and prevent muscle cramping, you need to fight the fatigue feeling and walk around for at least ten minutes after the race. You should reserve the week after the marathon for walking and light exercise.
You can walk 30 minutes a day, ride a bicycle, or go swimming. These so-called light exercises will keep the blood flowing to your legs, speed up the recovery process, and repair damaged muscle fibers.
Do stretches regularly
If you’re really interested in following marathon recovery tips, you need to seriously consider the importance of stretching a few weeks after a marathon. Just as it is important to stretch regularly before the race, it is also essential to keep doing it after.
If you decide to just rest, there is a possibility that your muscles will fail completely. You don’t want to allow that, so it’s important to focus on stretching for at least 20–25 minutes a day. Make a schedule and dedicate one day to each part of the body. Focus on opening up your upper body, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors.
Eat a lot of protein
Protein food plays a crucial role in strengthening and repairing muscle tissue that has been damaged. More importantly, protein-rich food can help you regain strength and improve your endurance during pre-marathon preparations. Make sure you’re eating a lot of beans, eggs, and meat before and after the marathon.
As far as marathon recovery tips go, this one is really important. We all know proper hydration is the key to a healthy body. You need to stay hydrated during and after the marathon. Avoid fatty foods the first hours after the marathon and focus only on carbs, fluids, and proteins.
That will restore your blood sugar levels, rehydrate you, and help you to make up for lost fluid during a marathon. Remember to drink a lot of water. You can also eat soups to balance the electrolyte levels and recover sore joints.
Take the time to rest your body
Studies have shown that only athletes who sleep at least 8 hours a day can reach their full potential. So, if you want to allow your body to release the growth hormone and repair the damaged muscles, you need to sleep and rest 8 hours a day.
Prioritize resting after the marathon, and you’ll highly reduce healing and recovery time.
Have a massage
Since you’re still reading this, you certainly want to get recovery tips after your very first marathon in life. Considering it is your first marathon, you should know that medical experts don’t recommend sports massage right before and on the performance day.
It’s not reccomended to go for a massage even the day after the marathon. That’s because races like marathons cause significant muscle damage and inflammation. Try to wait at least 3–4 days before considering massage treatment. Allow your body to heal and relax muscles as much as you can before going on a sports massage.
Take an ice bath
Right after you come home, put ice in the bathtub and try to keep your lower body immersed for at least 10 minutes. That’ll significantly lower the levels of inflammation, reduce the soreness and swelling, and repair smaller muscle fiber tears.
As you can see, marathon recovery tips are pretty simple to follow, but this one might be the toughest for enthusiast marathoners. After the first race, you’ll probably be highly motivated to continue the training and invest more effort to get better and exercise.
Marathon runners must resist the impulse to run for at least 8–10 days after the race. However, medical experts recommend resting up to 4 weeks to fully recover and prevent further stress on their body and muscles.
Take your post-marathon shower right away
After taking an ice bath, you need to take the post-marathon shower. Try to put this tip at the top of your list because you need to do it as quickly as possible. Don’t hesitate to stay in the shower as long as you have hot water.
That post-marathon shower is called contrast therapy because you need to alternate between freezing and hot water. Prepare to change the water temperature for 30–60 seconds and focus on your lower body parts.
That will adequately distribute the fluids you’ve already ingested right after the race around the muscles and help them recover more easily. After all, you earned that long shower!
Watch movies or TV shows while resting
Listen to your body, and don’t be stubborn. After you finish the marathon, it’s okay to celebrate success with friends and family and have a drink. Just keep in mind that excessive alcohol intake after a race can dehydrate you, and that’s what you want to avoid.
Have a drink, and go home to take a shower and rest. You will certainly not be able to fall asleep quickly due to inflammation and swollen muscles. Prepare a dish full of protein, and find some fun movie that will relax you.
Your body needs rest, and don’t take that away from it, at least the first night after the marathon.
Reflect on your success
Think through whether you liked the atmosphere in the field and what you want to work on to improve your next performance. Take your time to recover mentally as well. Marathon races can drain your power and exhaust your positive energy.
Just try to rest, and enjoy the time with your friends and family after the race to boost positive energy and prepare for the next big event.
We hope you’re now armed with enough information on how to properly recover after the first big event in your career. These marathon recovery tips aren’t just useful for first-time runners. Every marathon runner should keep these tips in mind and recover properly before getting back on track.