So, let’s do this from the moment you cross the finish line –
- Pat yourself on the back, if you have the energy. You have achieved one of the most difficult things possible.
- Make sure that you get into a bit of warm clothing, especially if it is cold.
- Walk around for a few minutes to get your heart rate back down.
- Get some food into your body. Look at getting a recovery drink in. This will typically consist of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Some of the energy drink companies produce specific recovery drinks. The other alternative is to drink a steri stumpi.
- Drink water to replenish lost fluids. Don’t over drink though. You want to slowly sip on water until your urine begins to clear.
- Don’t dive into the beers. Too much alcohol has a dehydrating effect.
Hour 3 -6
- Have a well balanced meal with protein and carbohydrates. Also make sure to eat some vegetables, they will help replenish lost minerals.
- If you have not managed to urinate by this stage your kidneys are taking strain and it is time to contact a doctor.
- If you have tweaked a muscle it is an idea to go for a light massage within the first 24 hours.
24 Hours later.
- Get your sore and stiff body moving. Go for a short walk, give yourself another pat on the back. You really ought to be proud of yourself.
- Keep your fluids going.
- Get some really healthy food into your system.
48 Hours later – day 2.
- This would be the best time to go for a light massage.
- No running, just a bit of walking again.
- Still no running. If you are getting antsy, go for a light spin or swim at your local gym.
- You are cleared to run if you feel up to it.
- How long will it take to fully recover from my marathon you might ask? Some have suggested that you need one day per mile, i.e. 26 days. Others have suggested a day per km, i.e. 42 days. I am not sure that anyone has a definitive answer. My guess, at least two weeks. The key here is to be patient, and listen to your body. Push too soon and you will make your body susceptible to either an infection or an injury. Recovery from these will take a lot longer than you slowly getting back into the swing of things.
One week later.
Reverse taper your training – Start with a short slow run, and gradually build up.
Remember to replace your running shoes at the 900 to 1000 km mark. Running in old shoes can make you more susceptible to injury.
Your immune system will take a knock. Rest well. It might be an idea to supplement your diet with an immune booster such as Viral Choice. Maybe supplement with some vitamin C too.
A marathon will test your body. Do not ignore niggles. They have a way of escalating into major injuries. Most muscle strains need a bit or massage, a bit of mobility tape treatment and possibly kinesio tape. Give me a call in this regard. My goal is to both care for the athlete and understand the equipment that is used.