Immediate Marathon Recovery

You should have some gamplan for your body post Chicago Marathon.  This recovery process begins the moment you finish.  As you cross the finish line you should be emotionally and mentally flooded with accomplishment. I am going to feature a three stage game plan for restoring optimal health for your body and how to monopolize on the training you engaged over the last 4-6 months.  Today, we will address the immediate recovery.  On days to follow, I will post the next stages in training and ways to even improve your fitness potential.   I am proposing three stages of recovery.

1.  RECOVERY ASAP -The Immediate Plan for the 48 hour period after crossing the finish line.
2.  BODY RE-ACCLIMATION The Plan for the 3rd day to 14 day mark after the marathon.
3.  BODY RE-BIRTH TO EVOLUTION A Cross-Train/Rebuilding Plan for the 2 week to 16 week mark after the marathon. A stronger, more physically diverse body. 
Immediate Plan – up to 48 hours After
  • Within in minutes to the 6 hour mark of finishing the marathon you should be steadily replenishing with water and urinating.  There is a balance between drinking the right amount of water/electrolite that will rehydrate your muscles.  Urination (and its color, clear too much liquids, pale yellow good, dark yellow bad) will indicate when your body is no longer dehydrated.  When you run in extremely warm temps over 75 degrees or freezing temps under 35 degrees, dehydration can happen more easily.  Sip, don’t gulp fluids.
  • Eat as soon as you can- a snack, do not wait for the large pasta meal and dump simple carbs in your system.  Snack – eat simple digestable foods right after – banana, PB and J, Almond Butter on Rice Cakes, even V-8 juice.  I am a bigger fan of real food over supplement bars.
  • Without taking all the fun out of the post-event partying, try not to binge eat.  Snack over the next 2 days, with 5 small meals and for some up to 8 meals.  Even if you want to eat your favorite meal in the world – break it up into smaller portions and eat it with 1-2 hours in-between.  Complex carbs are what you will crave, but protein will be instrumental in rebuilding depleted or damaged muscle tissue.
  • Shower in cool water, go swimming or ice down. This will help with minimizing inflammation and allowing the muscle tissue itself to heal.
  • Get a massage- spend the dough, book two, one for tomorrow and one for the next day. Plan ahead and schedule another for the 6-10 day mark as well.  Massage is critical in the healing process.  It can prevent stagnation, spasms from finding a home long term, healing the actual muscle fibers, ‘flushing lactic acid’ so-to-speak, re-establishing the body’s flow of energy.  If you can not get in for a massage, beg a friend to rub your lower back and legs. Or, use the massage stick and stretch, stretch and stretch.
  • No exericse.
  • Get extra sleep – remember the body only heals when we sleep – no matter who you are, your body will not heal itself while awake, even if you are not working your body – the mind must be dedicated to the healing process.

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