My marathon recovery plan

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The race is done. You did it. You finished a marathon and ran 26.2 miles. But now what? What are the best tips to recover after a marathon. Is there such thing as a marathon recovery week? I'm sharing my tips for a fast recovery after a marathon and my go-to marathon recovery plan:

Marathon recovery: My personal tips

Post race things to do

Grab the post race fuels that the race hands out, have water, even if you're not hungry, eat the snacks you'll find in the bad before you're getting home and are able to make food yourself. If you link up with your family after the race let them bring a light high protein snack as well such as a protein shake to refuel your depleted body.

Take a shower

Obviously you're gonna take a shower after the race, but have you heard of a contrast shower? Alternate hot and cold water on your legs with 1 minute hot and one minute cold water. This ritual is part of my marathon recovery plan and works really well.

Because of the cold water your blood vessels close and getting smaller, while the hot water causes the exact opposite. This oscillation between the vessels closing and opening helps rush oxygen-rich blood to your legs and helps you with your recovery after a marathon.

Hydrate and refuel

To help with a speedy recovery after running 26.2 miles is to refuel you depleted body with fluids, carbs and other nutrients immediately after the race. Plan a well balanced meal after you're getting home, or to your hotel that included a lot of protein, veggies and carbs. Make sure that you're taking the right supplements for marathoners after the race, too and drink lots of water. After the post marathon beer obviously.

Ice it, baby

One number one marathon recovery tip to reduce inflammation is to ice your tired legs. You can either fill up your tub and do an ice bath, apply ice or frozen food bags on your legs (10 min on, 10 min off) or work with icing sprays that you can buy at the pharmacy or online ahead of the race. On top of that I recommend a good stretch and foam rolling the day of the marathon and the following days after the race.

Keep moving

I know all you want to do after running a marathon is probably laying down and not doing anything, right? it sounds odd but keeping your body moving is what makes the different when it comes to recovery after a marathon.

Walking (or even dancing) helps your muscles to prevent from tightening and allows lactic acid to clear from your tired legs. Keep doing so on the day after the marathon.

Rest up

Another marathon recovery advice is to rest. Of course everyone is different with that and especially very experienced runner tend to keep running right after the race, but I really recommend taking some time off from running. I do not run for at least 4-5 days, but it's okay to take some more time off also.

If something bugs you, or hurts start with cross training before you go back to running. Remember you just finished a marathon which is hard work on your body, no need to stress things right now. Also make sure that you're getting enough sleep after your marathon. This is crucial for your marathon recovery as well.

Congratulations to completing the marathon. Don't forget to treat yourself with a massage, or a day at the spa. I know the past months weren't easy, but you did it. You rock!
Why you can trust Sabrina Wieser
Runningbrina is committed to bringing you unbiased ratings and information. Her editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Sabrina uses data-driven methodologies to evaluate all products, so all brands are measured equally.
  • Most featured running blog, past 6 years
  • USATF certified running coach
  • Experienced endurance athlete
  • 7 marathons

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