Enjoy the moment. Celebrate – You have really achieved something both mentally and physically in running 26.2miles.
Keep moving once you cross the finish line-walk for about 10 minutes and make use of a foil blanket or extra dry clothing layer as your body will cool down quickly and you might feel faint or sick if you completely stop or lie down. You want your body temperature and blood flow to gradually normalise.
Rehydrate and Refuel. Fluid replacement is really important. Drinks rich in electrolytes will help replace salt lost through sweat.
Get some carbs on board to replace calories expended.1g of carbohydrate for every kg body weight is recommended. Include some protein to help muscle repair A milk-based smoothie, milkshake or latte are all good. Have a look in the post race goodie bag – you’ll often find a sweet treat. Remember to keep sipping fluid throughout the rest of the day and try and avoid dehydrating alcohol.
Don’t stretch – yep, that’s right – not yet anyway – your muscles have been damaged by the run. The peak of delayed muscle soreness is 48hrs after the run. Maintaining movement, rest and recovery are important at this early point.
Try Legs-up-the-wall Pose:
A lovely restorative yoga pose. This pose can also be performed slightly away from the wall, resting the pelvis on a cushion. The abdomen is relaxed, the backs of the legs passively stretch and the hip flexors are at rest. Great for the circulation and nervous system.
Save Sports Massage for day 3 onwards as you might be too sore earlier and you want to give your body time to heal and repair.
Avoid a soak in a hot bath. Instead have a cool bath or a shower of alternating hot and cold water. This will minimise inflammation and bleeding in the tissues.
Apply local ice to any injured joint and keep it moving gently. (See acute injury advice)
Wearing compression garments can help reduce swelling and speed recovery.
Look after sore feet and any blisters.
Your immunity after a marathon will be compromised- this means that due to the mental and physical demand you have made on your system you are more likely to pick up a cold or virus and often feel low emotionally.
Listen to your body- rest, have a few early nights, eat balanced healthy meals, rich in nutrients. Believe it or not-It can take 4-6 weeks to fully recover from a marathon. Return to exercise. When to return is an individual decision but it is advisable to start slow and gentle- a walk, bike ride, swim or short easy run is best.