11 Recovery Tips for your Marathon Run

First off, huge congrats on your Marathon finish!! Pat yourself on the back for your tremendous accomplishment - you should be very proud of yourself!!

The Marathon is an absolutely grueling run that is extremely taxing on the body. Now that you are finished it is time to focus on recovery. Taking recovery seriously will help your body recover faster and better. Here are 11 tips to help you do so.

#1 - Drink a protein shake as soon as possible after the race. This will start the recovery process as soon as possible. You will get plenty of carbs at the food tent, but there are usually no easily digestible protein options so have a family member bring one of these to you shortly after the race. You can stop at the local drug store and get a six pack of Ensure or bars work well too. I prefer to put some whey protein isolate in a Blender Bottle as I drink protein shakes everyday. It doesn't really matter as long as there are some quick absorbing proteins in it. Whey is very quick absorbing and easily digestible. You should take another shake midday and another at night right before bed. Continue this pattern for the next 2-3 days.
A must post race for DIY protein drinks

#2 - Keep moving - although you might be exhausted, keep moving. It is ok to take a nap but don't sit for extended periods of time. Take frequent short walks to keep the blood moving thru the legs. This will help the body delivery the necessary nutrients to the body while allowing toxins to be expelled.

#3 - Avoid caffeine - caffeine is going to add further stress to the system. Avoid it if you can as it will delay the recovery process. I understand there may be situations where you need caffeine, like for a long drive home post-race.

#4 - Sit in recovery boots. If you are fortunate enough to own a pair of recovery boots then sit in them for 30 minutes post race, mid-day, and before going to bed. If you have no experience in recovery boots then here is a short comparison on the two units I have and use daily: Normatec Vs Air Relax
Compression Recovery Boots
 A great, easy, and relaxing way to actively flush the legs

#5 - Drink lots of water - your body has a lot of repairing to do and you are going to need a lot of carbs and protein to help the recovery process. But it takes a lot of water to process carbs, protein, and flush the body of toxins. Drinking lots of water will help expedite the recovery process. You don't need to go crazy, but have a greater conscious awareness about staying adequately hydrated. If you urine is darker at all then you need to be drinking more fluids.

#6 - Take a nap. If you have the time then take a nap. The more naps the better. Don't think of naps as being lazy, think of them as aiding the recovery process.

Bromelain ie Pineapple Enzyme -
 Natural anti-inflammatory + Breaks down proteins
#7 - Avoid NSAIDs and other painkillers. Anti-inflammatories are going to be hard on your system. If you need something for pain look to natural anti-inflammatories like Bromelain, the enzyme in Pineapple that is a natural anti-inflammatory. You can buy Bromelain itself which is extracted from Pineapple and is very affordable. It also aids in the breakdown of proteins which will also help the recovery process. My recommendation is this Source Naturals 2-pack. 240 tablets in total.

#8 - No running - You probably won't want to run, but refrain from running unless you absolutely feel capable of it in the days following your marathon. If you swim, get to the pool and do light swimming in the days following your marathon. Swimming and walking are the best activities to do.

#9 - Take Epsom Salt Baths - Epsom salt can help relieve general soreness with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) - this is what you are feeling when you feel that pain in your quads or calves. Epsom salt can help relieve that pain naturally. Poor a generous amount of Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes

Epsom salt baths can promote bloodflow and helps with DOMS.

#10 - Be cognizant of germs - Marathons are very hard on the body and can knock out your immune system. If you are traveling home by air or returning to work be extra cognizant of germs. Wash the hands or use hand sanitizer on the go.

#11 - Use the foam roller. You might be too sore immediately post race or even the following day, but use the foam roller as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. Use the foam roller to break up adhesions, scar tissue, and to continue to promote blood flow.

If you don't have a foam roller, you might consider making the investment. My favorite one is the original Rumble Roller. They come in a long version for home use, and a short version for travel. Both come in two different firmness levels. I have a black one (firm, long, home use) and blue one (soft, short, travel use)

Rumble Roller - The best 'torture device' / foam roller in the world.

Lastly if you are triathlete, endurance athlete, or marathoner, I have set up a FREE Q&A group on Facebook. It will always be FREE. As a long-time age-grouper I spent way too long determining what information I could trust and what I couldn't. As a TRUE student of the sport I have learned a lot, remain open-minded, and realize that so many people disseminate information blindly and then bad myths become lore. Hoping to shed some light and simplify things for people.

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