5 Tips to Recover After a Marathon

23rd September 2019
Have you ever suffered extreme exhaustion and pain after running a marathon? If you follow these suggestions, you'll learn how to cope with this phase in a better way.

Running a marathon is the perfect challenge to test your physical condition and your level of perseverance. Beyond the personal satisfaction of having participated in one of these events, you should also know how to recover correctly.

A marathon is a long-distance race in which both men and women participate. This sport is even part of the athletic category of the Olympic Games. Since it’s very physically demanding, you should subject your body to special care to recover without complications.

Running is a discipline that demands a lot

Marathon running is a sport that demands a lot and can cause harmful effects on the athlete’s body. Therefore, correct recovery isn’t only important, but necessary for your well-being.

It’s understandable that, at the end of the marathon, you end up so exhausted that all you want to do is go to bed and not even think about the steps you must take to recover. However, overlooking an adequate recovery can cause the following problems:

How to recover after a marathon

Recovering after a marathon can be somewhat tedious, but without a doubt, your body will feel much better, and you’ll avoid the damage that could affect your body as a result of the race. Here, we’ll show you some tips to replenish your body:

1. Don’t stop moving

This advice is for a specific moment: right after finishing the race. At the precise moment that you cross the finish line, you’ll be so tired that you’ll just want to sit down and do nothing but rest. Indeed, you must rest, but stopping suddenly may cause dizziness and nausea.

Recover after a marathon race

Keep in mind that you’ve just run a large number of miles, so a smooth process to transition between the high-impact physical activity and the natural state of the body is necessary. You should allow yourself to breathe and your muscles and your heart rate to stabilize.

Therefore, at the end of the race, take your time, slow down, and begin to breathe as calmly as possible. Walk for a while; let your body adjust its temperature and let your muscles relax. Then, you can do a quick stretch to relax before sitting down to rest.

2. Eat healthy foods

You must replenish all the energy that you’ve used during the race and what better way to do that than by eating? While eating, your body will receive the necessary nutrients so that it can continue to fulfill the recovery processes.

Here, we should note that the foods you consume must be healthy for you; for example, fruits, nuts, vegetables, among others. If possible, avoid heavy meals. It’s better that you eat a few snacks to calm your stomach and then eat a whole meal.

3. Attend to your limbs after a marathon

When you get home, taking a shower is the best thing you can do to recover. However, you should avoid bathing in hot water at all costs, since it could damage your muscles, which are already soaked in lactic acid.

After taking a cold shower, it’s time to take care of the parts of your body that may hurt or be tired. It’s best to apply ointments to refresh your knees and ankles, and in turn, give yourself massages to improve circulation.

4. Rest

This is one of the most crucial recovery tips after a marathon. The body needs to repair all the small muscle tears that occurred during physical activity. So, for now, resting should be your highest priority.

Also, let your body tell you how much rest you need, don’t go by what you think is enough. Not everyone’s body is the same; there’ll be people who’ll feel great the day after running a marathon, and there’ll be others who need to rest a little longer.

5. Do low impact exercises to recover after a marathon

During the first days after the marathon, it’s convenient that you avoid high impact exercises and dedicate yourself to those that have less impact. Keep in mind that your body was exposed to a demanding exercise for a prolonged period of time; therefore, the lightest exercises are the most suitable to recover after a marathon.

Light exercise to recover after a marathon

 

Options such as swimming, trampolining, yoga, Pilates, rowing, walking, or cycling are some low-impact exercises that you can implement to recover after a marathon effectively.

As we said at the beginning, finishing a marathon is an incredible achievement, and you should be proud of yourself. In turn, you have to be responsible and take care of yourself. Be cautious and use these tips!

  • Trivax, J. E., Franklin, B. A., Goldstein, J. A., Chinnaiyan, K. M., Gallagher, M. J., deJong, A. T., … McCullough, P. A. (2010). Acute cardiac effects of marathon running. Journal of Applied Physiology108(5), 1148–1153. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01151.2009
  • Cheuvront, S. N., & Haymes, E. M. (2001). Thermoregulation and marathon running biological and environmental influences. Sports Medicine. Adis International Ltd. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200131100-00004
  • Lieberman, D. E., & Bramble, D. M. (2007). The Evolution of Marathon Running. Sports Medicine37(4), 288–290. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737040-00004