A marathon is a great accomplishment for a runner. You’ve spent months training for the big day and devoting a large chunk of your life to it. Then, the day is finally here and you have crossed the finish line and achieved your goal! Now what? Read on to find out what you should do within that first week.
You may want to sit down – but, it’s important to keep moving. Move through the finishing chute and grab something to eat. Most races will have a table there with bananas or other foods. You want to make sure that you eat something to start aiding with your recovery.
Another thing that is important is to stay warm. If the race has supplied mylar blankets – those space looking things – wrap yourself in it immediately. If not, get into some warm clothes as soon as you can. You will lose body heat pretty quickly after you stop running. Don’t forget your feet. Have some dry socks and shoes ready for you. (I usually have flip flops at hand to make it easy to slip into something after I take off my wet socks.)
Your dry clothes and shoes is something that you can have in a bag that you check in before the race starts if you are by yourself at the race. If you are there with a spouse or a friend – have it in the bag that they can have when you meet up with them after the race.
Once you get back home – or wherever you may be staying – stretch out those sore muscles. You may not feel like it at the time – but, it will definitely help you in the week to come. Also, a foam roller will help. Then, a nice shower feels great!
Go for a little walk that evening – even if it’s just a short walk before heading to dinner. You want to get the blood flowing back through your legs again.
Dinner should be something with protein. You want to eat protein to help aid with muscle recovery. I always enjoy a nice steak the evening of a marathon!
The next day – either go for a short run (if you are able) or a nice walk. Just sitting or lying around will actually make you feel worse and take longer to recover. You want to get those legs moving again. But, definitely a short distance. If you run – make sure it is a nice, slow and easy mile or so.
The whole week after a marathon you want to take it easy. Lots of stretching, foam rolling and easy, short runs. Don’t try to do any distance or speed work for 2 weeks so that you don’t risk an injury.
Marathons are great! And, you should feel wonderful that you have gone the distance! Now, just be smart the week after so that you can start planning for your next one!