You’ve trained for weeks on end. Run in all kinds of weather. Forced yourself out of bed at uncomfortable hours, laced up those shoes when you didn’t feel like it, and (hopefully) most of the time you ended up enjoying the run. As race day draws near, here are some ideas for a marathon recovery plan to win the war, not just the 26.2 mile battle. The goal: to feel good and get moving once again.

Of course there would have been some days of training where you simply endured the hard work, but I’d be willing to bet you learned a thing or two about yourself on those days and drove yourself onwards. Marathon training is a great process of  self exploration as well as physical challenge! And the recovery from events like a marathons is a challenge in itself.

Marathon recovery plan for immediately following the race

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1) Nourish Your Body.

Recovery begins the moment you cross the finish line. Drink something replenishing.

Water, or an electrolyte drink will do nicely. As soon as your stomach can tolerate it, eat.

Most races have easily digestible carbohydrates on hand (bananas, bagels, etc.). These are good for you – consume some. Check out this article to learn how to eat your way to recovery after race day.

2) Keep moving.

As soon as you finish, don’t immediately sit or lie down. Keep moving. Walk around for a bit. Shake out your legs, and get something to eat. A long walk back to the hotel or to your car is good for you. Trust me.

3) Stretch.

After walking for a bit, gently stretch those legs. Stretch your hamstrings, IT bands, calves, feet, and shoulders. Stretch anything that feels good. A yoga mat, strap and foam roller will do wonders.

marathon recovery plan2

4) Rest.

Go and put your feet up. Rest, and then get something more to eat. Carbs are your friend here. Aim for high quality, and fuel yourself well.

After the official race, there are many ways to go about recovery. While I generate and use a variety of training plans  leading up to race day, I’ve never used a specific plan for recovery post race. I prefer to listen to my body and let it dictate what feels good, and what doesn’t.

Yoga is a good practice for flexibility and movement, as well as foam rolling. After three or four days, an easy run feels good on the legs. Cross training is also a welcome release.

Whatever you choose, it should be easy. You want to move the lactic acid, but also allow your muscles time to recover.

One thing that I have recently discovered in race recovery is floating. During a float, you are suspended in a solution of epsom salt and water, which allows your muscles to fully relax.

There’s all kinds of science behind it, and floating is hands down, one of the best things I’ve ever done for my body post race.

Winning the war will consist of taking care of your body – not only post race but during the run as well. If you feel any pain, adjust and see if you can make it go away. Shorten your stride. Release any tension. Relax into it. Fuel yourself well. Drink water as you need to.

And finally rest and soak in the accomplishment of running 26.2. Feeling inspired to give it another go?  Check out these 10 marathon running tips that benefit every skill level.

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