minute read • 

April 21, 2022

Congratulations! You just crossed the finish line of a marathon. Grab your medal, hug your friends and family, and take that celebratory Instagram. You earned this.

Now that you’ve finished, it’s time to think about recovery. Post-marathon recovery is just as important as your training. Think about it like this: The better your recovery, the faster you can stop avoiding stairs in your daily routine and get back to running. 

Recovery looks different for every racer, and can even vary after different races. It’s dependent on the intensity of the race, the weather, and your preparedness. But, the principles remain largely the same. We broke down the steps you should take to recover in the minutes, hours, and days after each race.

Minutes After the Race

As soon as you finish, your legs probably feel like they’re going to collapse underneath you. What you probably want to do most in the world is sit down. Although it may seem impossible in the moment, don’t do this. Keep walking so that your body can cool down gradually. Going from 100% to 0% as soon as you hit the finish line will shock your system. Many larger races build a walking section into the finishers area, but be mindful that you make use of it. 

Next, start refueling and rehydrating. Your body just lost a lot of fluid and fuel, so remember to gradually reintroduce it. Opt for water over sugary drinks, and try to take in about 500 ml per hour. Start with a small snack within 30-60 minutes after you finish. Something that provides 200-300 calories from carbs and protein will help maintain blood sugar levels and repair muscle tissue. A 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal. 

As soon as you walk it off and start refueling, change out of your wet, cold clothes. Your body temperature is changing much more rapidly than you can feel, so swap out your gear ahead of the curve.

Hours After the Race

Now that your body is starting to recover, it’s time to flush out built-up lactic acid in your muscles and increase blood flow to the legs. Try the viparita karani yoga pose with your legs up in the air, or put your legs upside down on a wall, for 5-10 minutes. 

Next, grab a vibrating foam roller and roll out from your heel (plantar fascia, if you want to get specific) all the way up to your hips. Above all, listen to your body. You’ll be more tender and sore than usual, so waiting a few hours to roll out is totally normal. If needed, switch to a lower vibration setting.

Days After the Race 

Ideally, wait at least 24 hours after you finish to start deep tissue work (but again, listen to your body). Once you feel ready, begin tissue work to flush out your legs and enhance your recovery. Continue hydrating, since your body takes several days to recover from your incredible finish. To track your body’s overall hydration, you can check your urine color. Additionally, due to the physical stress of running 26.2 miles, your immunity may be lower. Continue to take supplements and bolster your immune system

In the days after the race, begin to gently move your body again to increase blood flow. Keep rolling out with a vibrating roller or pliability sphere, and start to incorporate more activity, such as a 30 minute walk, bike ride, or swim. After a few days, you can start to add in more core and glute exercises including glute bridges, front planks, and glute med side planks. 

After 1-2 weeks, you can slowly get back to your normal routine — and start training for your next marathon.

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We transform lives through the TB12 Method. Explore our one-to-one services, integrative solutions, and unparalleled client success stories.

Learn

We transform lives through the TB12 Method. Explore our one-to-one services, integrative solutions, and unparalleled client success stories.