Tips for Immediate Post-Marathon Recovery

At last you have met your goal and successfully crossed the finish line. Your body is aching and depleted of nutrients. Recovery begins the moment you stop running and begin returning to normal resting levels.

Take note of the following post-race health plan to help you recover. These four simple steps will keep you healthy, allow your body to heal properly, and prepare you for your next challenge.

#1 Keep walking

Avoid stopping to take pictures or greet friends and family immediately after the race. Let them know beforehand that you need a cool-down phase for at least 15 minutes. Walking helps prevent blood pooling in your legs, which restricts the amount of blood to the brain and may lead to fainting. A slow cool-down period also allows your heart rate to gradually return to a resting rate. While walking, blood continues to circulate through the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles in an effort to prevent cramping.

#2 Rehydrate

Your body has just lost a lot of water and sodium. It is best to rehydrate with a sports drink that has a balance of electrolytes and carbohydrates. Eating a pickle or other salty snack can help restore sodium levels in your muscles and reduce cramping. Water should be consumed slowly, as too much may cause stomach cramps or make you sick.

#3 Change your clothes

Nothing feels worse than wet clothes and soggy socks. Putting on dry clothes and fresh socks helps warm the body and encourage circulation. The compression factor of clean socks also aids in alleviating inflammation.

#4 Refuel your body within 30 minutes

A quick way to do this is to consume easily digestible foods that are balanced in carbohydrates and proteins. Most races have a snack station near the finish line to quickly get those nutrients back into your body. After the race, your stomach may not be quite ready to eat, so wait until you feel hungry.

Carbohydrates help restore muscle glycogen, while protein assists in the rebuilding of tissue. Something as simple as bananas and peanut butter will be fine.

Additional great fuel options include whole grain cereal, energy bars, or a lean meat sandwich on whole wheat bread. Chocolate milk is another simple way to replenish.

For more information on how to enhance your training and implement successful recovery periods, call 936-266-3130.