So what do you do after winning a marathon? Okay, okay, you probably didn't WIN a marathon, but regardless if you ran a 2:09 or a 6:59, here are ways to celebrate your accomplishment. #1) Ice! Make ice your friend. And I'm not talking about ice cream either :) I'm talking about an ice bath. 99.9% of you will balk at the mere thought of such a thing, but I write from personal experience. Ice helps calm & soothe sore, inflamed muscles and speeds up the recover process. I was chatting with Bart Yasso over the weekend [ at the ING New York City Marathon ] & he mentioned that ice bath's aren't on the top of his fun list. I also agreed that they may not be fun, but knowing how I'll feel AFTER I take one, gets me into the ice. Aim for 20lbs of ice, water temp should be around 50 degrees. Stay in about 15minutes. TIP: if you can't get ice, run cold water over your legs. Also lay on your back and put your feet up on the wall.
#2) Move! You may not feel like taking a step again in your life, but we know that isn't an option. Take a walk. Perhaps do some yoga. But honestly, just walk it out! The first few steps probably will remind you of why you have that medal around your neck. But the longer you keep moving and the blood circulating, you will like a rock star that you are.
#3) Hydrate! Just as the same as before the marathon, the same for afterwards. You want to replenish all the electrolytes you lost during the run. I like EmergenC, Pedialyte, Smart Water, Coconut Water. Drink up!
#4) Food! You may be as hungry as a bear & want to eat everything in sight. Or you may not feel like eating a thing. However, its important to feed your body the right food after you finish. If you don't have an appetite, try liquid calories like Ensure or Chocolate Milk. If you are famished get some protein in you. Maybe a burger, Steak+potatoes, Turkey Sandwich, PB&J, Chicken or Noodle Soup. Nuts, beans, nut milks are great vegan options.
#5) Mornings! The first few mornings you might be a little painful, stiff & sore. But remind yourself that it won't feel like this forever :) The best thing to do is get up (however slow or fast!) and avoid stairs! This is the one time its okay to take the escalator or elevator. Use this pass wisely, you don't when you'll get to use it again! ;)
#6) Celebrate! You ran 26.2 miles! But celebrate positively & healthy. Get a massage. Or a pedicure. Or a good old fashioned nap!
#7) After the Win! Not many people talk about this part, but it can be a let down a few days later to realize that you're done. All the months of training, prepping, preparing- running. Its a very high high you are on and then, poof its gone. Call it the "post marathon blues". So, what do you do? Give yourself something to look forward to. Perhaps another 26.2 or a small race distance. Or learn how to cook a healthy dish. Go help the homeless shelter or soup kitchen. That's an instant cure for whatever ails you!
#8) Love! If there ever was a time to have a personal assistant/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/significant other/car driver/etc now is the time to have them help you OR get one. I'm accepting applications, BTW :)
So there you have it, 8 ways to enjoy your marathon victory! Happy recovery!
Sarah Stanley is a professional endurance athlete and has run 3 out of 5 of the World Major Marathons (Chicago, Boston, New York) and has completed 7 other marathons besides 8 ultra marathons (50k, 50miles, 100miles). She is passionate about life, running & helping others! Stay in touch here.
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography