Guest post by: #TeamWearsafe Ambassdaor, Dale E.
So you ran a marathon... now what? You probably put a lot of effort into your nutrition and your workouts during training, but you might not have thought much about after.
Training is the fun part when you love to run. You work hard for months and months just to have that amazing finish line feeling. Truly the best. But the recovery period after the race is just as important if not more important than your pre-race training. I am by no means an expert. I’m not a doctor or a coach, BUT I have run 7 marathons and I have figured out what works best for me. Here are my tips to safely recover after completing a marathon:
Day 1 Post-race:
REST. I think taking the day off after a marathon is crucial. Go on a few walks to loosen up your legs, but don’t stress about getting in a ton of steps. Eat good food. Get a lot of sleep. Drink a lot of water. And don’t forget to celebrate yourself. I love to go out for a glass of champagne or stop by my favorite doughnut shop. Celebrating is an important part of recovery if you ask me.
Day 2 Post-race:
Get a massage. The second day is always when I’m the most sore. Stairs are a struggle and I tell myself I never want to be this sore again. (Spoiler: I always sign up for another marathon anyways). What really helps with the soreness for me is to get a massage/cupping. And then I take an Epsom salt bath. The combination leaves my legs feeling almost as good as new. I highly recommend it.
Rest of Week 1 Post-race:
Ease in or rest. I don’t like to rush back into an exercise routine. I usually take 7 days off from any type of exercise and 10-14 days off from running. This past training cycle, I took 14 full days off before running again. I used the extra time I got back from not working out to log more hours of sleep and put more effort into my cooking and nutrition. I think fueling properly when you’re recovering is also super important. Good food works wonders. And I usually still have a huge appetite for the week after a race, so I listen and fuel up.
Week 2 Post-race:
Add back in some light exercise. I like cycling and yoga. It’s nice to sweat again even if you’re not running. But if your legs are still sore, I would wait! Or if anything feels off, be patient. If you have an ache or pain that feels different, get it checked out. Being injured this past Spring taught me not to ignore a harsh pain or the beginnings of an injury. Post-marathon isn’t a time to be tough. Go get it checked out as soon as you can. No need to push through any pain just to workout again sooner. When you’re in recovery mode you should really listen to your body. Free injury screenings can be a lifesaver. It might be nothing, but it’s nice to get an opinion early on before it gets worse - just incase.
Week 3 Post-race:
Run! If you want to. I like to start with some easy low mileage runs. I run when I want, however far I want. No pressure running is honestly kind of the best. If my body's feeling good, I go for it. And another massage or two won’t hurt. I also keep focusing on cross training and other types of workouts. The off season in between marathons is when I know I need to get stronger. I have more time to dedicate to it if I’m not running as many miles and the change of pace can be really nice.
Week 4 Post-race:
Sign up for your next marathon? Just kidding. Or maybe I’m not. After about a month I’m always ready to figure out what’s next. I’m no longer sore. I’m well rested. I’ve been fueling better. It makes me feel like the best version of myself and I like to think about what challenge I want to take on next. If you’re like me, then start checking out some new races. But it’s also okay to wait however long you want until you’re ready. You can bask in that post-marathon glory for years if you want to. There will always be new opportunities to train.
The recovery process is different for everyone but the real key for me is patience. Patience with how my body is healing itself and giving it what it needs whether it’s extra sleep, extra food, or extra self-care. Take care of yourself! You did an amazing thing, relax and appreciate all the hard work you put your body through.
Check out more running tips from Marathoner Dale on her blog and follow her on socials!
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