What To Do After A Marathon

What To Do In The Minutes, Hours, Days & Weeks After A Marathon

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what to do after a marathon - marathon recovery advice

Congratulations – you’re a marathon finisher! After months and months of build up the big day has come and gone. You’ve got a shiny medal but you can’t walk downstairs. You’ve updated social media and you’ve negotiated the tricky process of showering and dressing with limited use of your lower limbs. What do you do when the elation fades? How do you keep the excitement going but stay healthy? Here’s how:

What To Do Straight After Finishing A Marathon

Update Facebook! Just joking, grab a bottle of water and sip it regularly. As soon as you can stomach something to eat have some proteiny-carby food; bananas are ideal, there’s a reason why they’re given out after races. You may have promised yourself a massive bar of Galaxy but if you eat it now you’ll soon be seeing it again on the pavement and to be honest, the marshals have enough clearing up to do! Keep your initial post-race foot healthy.

Your body may feel a comfortable temperature but, believe it or not, that warmth will soon wear off and you could find yourself suddenly shivering. You need to prepare for this, so if the lovely volunteers are handing out foil blankets, grab one and take steps to find the baggage tent where you will have thoughtfully packed a warm layer or two.

What To Do Within A Few Hours Of Finishing A Marathon

You will hopefully have planned ahead and booked a dinner or late lunch somewhere the service doesn’t take ages. Remember the bread and milk shelves of the supermarkets when snow appeared earlier this year? That’s what your carbohydrate stores look like right now. Therefore your post-race meal should mirror what you had for dinner last night. Then you can treat yourself to a dessert! Have you drunk two pints of non-alcoholic liquid since you finished? Get the beers in (if you’re not driving home)! However, keep any alcoholic drink quite low in alcoholic volume; the only shots you should be seeing are photos of you ‘enjoying’ your race!

What To Do The Day After A Marathon

Wear your medal and your race t-shirt to work, around town, on the flight home, to the pub, the dry cleaners, the funeral; wherever it is you’re going the day after the marathon – because this is the last time you can get away with wearing your medal without looking like a dork (unless you’ve won an Olympic medal and you’re on a talk show).

You won’t feel like it, but do some light exercise – maybe a couple of miles of walking or a swim. It will help get the aches out of your legs and avoid dom dom… DOMS! (Also known as ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’!)

What To Do Two Days After A Marathon

Domsday! So painful William the Conqueror commissioned a book about it! Ideally you’ll have a massage booked for this day which will help your ease your DOMS. If you work on the ground floor and live in a bungalow other marathon finishers will be jealous of you. Again a bit of light exercise will help the DOMS – a bit.

What To Do Ten Days After A Marathon

Personally I find this the best time to get back to a bit of easy running. If you try running too soon then you may aggravate niggles you may not know you have until the marathon aches have fully gone away. If you’re desperate to exercise before this time then cycling or swimming is ok. However, bear in mind that even the elites take a decent break after a marathon so, unless you’re Eddie Izzard, keep the Asics under the stairs.

Are there any sponsors who haven’t paid you yet? Time to scour the yellow pages for a decent, no nonsense, bailiff firm. Alternatively, drop your debtors a gentle reminder text.

What To Do Three Weeks After A Marathon

Done a few easy runs? Are your legs feeling ok? Then it’s time to plan your next challenge. After the build up to the big day and the elation of finishing the post-marathon blues are very real. Make a note of Marathon +20 days on the calendar and, injuries permitting, enter your next big challenge on this day. Ideally you’ll want around six months between marathons as it’s nice to play around with some shorter races without the pressure of building up your mileage again too soon and the injury risks that come with it.

what you need to know
  • Your first priority is replenishing your fluids and your carbs – then you can treat yourself

  • You will be aching for a few days – light exercise and a massage will help with this

  • These aches could be masking a fresh injury; don’t be tempted to run again until they have completely gone. Build up gradually, keeping the first few runs short and relaxed

what you need to do
  • Plan ahead – put a couple of layers in your race bag, book a restaurant/pub table in a place with reliable service for after the race, and a sports massage for two days later

  • Take the banana, the water bottle and the foil blanket from the finish-line volunteer and thank them profusely

  • Research what you might do for your next challenge, enter it 20 days after the marathon to keep the buzz going and help combat the post-marathon blues

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