You did it. You crossed that finish line and accomplished something you didn’t think was possible. You’re officially someone who has run a marathon. But the race is hardly over. Sure, you ran past that last water station, put on your game face, and charged through your last sprint. But there’s one part you didn’t finish yet – your recovery.
There’s no problem convincing you that you just did something really hard. Your body just went through a whirlwind – your muscles, hormones, cells, and mental capacity have been absolutely stretched their utmost capacity. Regardless of it being your first shot at a marathon or if you’re a seasoned vet, taking care of your body after such a feat is essential. 26.2 miles are still impacting your body, no matter how many times you’ve done it.
1-3 days after the run, even though you may want to, stay away from running. Soak in a hot bath and get your fill of carbohydrates and fruits. Carbs will help repair any muscle damage and fruit will bring you important vitamins for boosting your immune system, which surely is compromised after the race. Light massage will loosen up those stiff and sore muscles.
Icing after the race will calm down any inflammation and soreness after the race. Light stretching will also give you the upper hand in post-race recovery, right after you finish. After that 1-3 day threshold has passed, your muscles are in less of a hyper-sensitive stage, so a deeper massage can be possible.
It may seem like a long time, but anywhere up to a month post-race may require caution when engaging in exercise. Stick to light, mild intensity workouts in the form of cross training like swimming, biking, and the elliptical. We know you’ll get that itch to get back out there at full force, but tone it down and be patient.
Remember, feeling sore after putting your body through this is normal. But swelling and pain might be pointing to a bigger issue. Above all else, after you complete this amazing feat, focus on resting your body and taking a break. Come and see us at Symmetry Physical Therapy in Downtown Miami so that we can help address any post-marathon issues, get you back on track with your training, and make sure you can go succeed in your next race.