You Just Ran a Marathon, Now What? 6 Tips to Help You Recover

You Just Ran a Marathon, Now What? 6 Tips to Help You Recover

We get it, recovery isn’t exactly the most exciting part of your day. You love training and would much prefer to push forward instead of scaling back. But if you’re reading this article, chances are you’re in need of some serious recovery.

After weeks of hard training, and the completion of a big goal, the focus must shift. The time immediately following a race is the most important opportunity to allow your body to recover fully. And here’s the thing, it doesn’t need to be boring.

Be ready for all that lies ahead by prioritizing recovery now for better performance later.

Check out 6 tips that you can implement to begin feeling better today!

TIP #1 – TAKE TIME OFF

Tired? Sore? Frustrated? It’s understandable. Your body is under a lot of stress. The finish line has come and gone, and now you don’t know how to act. In these moments, less is more.

Truth bomb: If you just completed a big race, you may need to take an entire week off from running. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but we’ll get through this together.

Why an entire week? Your body needs time to properly heal from the miles of exertion and impact that result from distance running. If (like most), you force your body back into action too soon, you risk inhibiting the natural healing process that the body wants to undergo.

Once your ‘off-week’ is up, you can decide whether you are ready to begin running again. If you choose to start logging miles, begin slowly, and allow your body to build back to baseline – a level of training that is easy and comfortable.

Sure, time off from running isn’t fun; but as we'll see, there are plenty of great alternatives that will allow you to stay active and recover properly!

TIP #2 – SLEEP

Sleep is the ONLY free, highly effective recovery tool that you are probably disregarding. Many of us go months on end training, under slept and under recovered. And yet, our body remains strong; we cross the finish line to achieve our goal.

With all this sacrifice behind you, NOW is the time to prioritize sleep. You won’t be training as much, so you can allot more time to the quantity of your sleep; ideally, you will have 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep in your nightly schedule.

However, quantity, or time asleep, is only as important as the quality of these hours. Try a few of the tips below to improve your quality of sleep:

  • Limit exposure to external light (like blue lights emitted from your cell phone, TV, etc.) to allow natural sleep hormones to be released nightly.
  • Create a routine that allows you to limit stress and wind down.
  • Black out the room you sleep in. Try getting your room so dark that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.
  • Consider a sleep support supplement that provides your body with relaxing ingredients for greater rest and recovery.

TIP #3 – PASSIVE RECOVERY

We are always on the go and wouldn’t have it any other way. But when it comes time to recover, you can’t disregard the importance of simply slowing down.

Consider scheduling an appointment with your local chiropractor or massage therapist for hands-on treatment or take advantage of heat and cold exposure with tools like the sauna or cold plunge. Each of these strategies allows you to recover without any excessive movement.

Many people consider passive recovery to be meditative for both mind and body. While doing less may not come naturally, you will notice short and long-term benefits to your readiness in pursuing future goals.

Whatever you choose, the message is simple: slow down before you can speed up; your body will reward you later.

TIP #4 – PROPER NUTRITION

It’s far too common for athletes to complete a race and quickly resort to eating LESS food.

Yes, everyone loves to hype up their post-race meal and all the calories they will eat, but once they wake from their ill-fated food coma, there is a common trap - the belief that because you aren’t training, you don’t need to eat. Sound familiar? This is one of the greatest mistakes you can make.

Calories supply the energy your body needs to fuel recovery. And let’s be clear, we’re not just talking about any calories (no fast-food drive through lines here), your body craves nutrient-rich foods to repair muscle tissue, heal the body, and eliminate the all-too-common brain fog that follows a big effort.

Consider a few of these mindset shifts to help you prioritize nutrition in your recovery efforts:

  • Think less about ‘how much’ and more about how you feel. Eat the foods that give you energy and make you feel better, not worse.
  • If you’re hungrier than usual, that’s normal! Eat until you’re satisfied and know that food is fuel. If you aren’t very hungry, that’s normal too! Choose the foods that give you the best bang for your buck (think protein-rich, nutrient-dense foods).
  • Carbs are cool! Carbohydrates can help replenish lost muscle glycogen and allow your hormones to rebalance, leading to greater mood and mental clarity.
  • Don’t forget about fats! Sources of dietary fat are essential to a healthy diet, because of how they aid in nutrient-absorption and cell-function.

You fueled heavy training days, now you get to fuel for recovery.

TIP #5 – LOW IMPACT MOVEMENT

We’ve discussed the importance of passive recovery, but unfortunately many people will fully eliminate movement from their routines. Let’s instead look at the other end of the spectrum, active recovery, and the things you CAN do in the name of feeling better.

You know how to run, but have you tried a walk? An easy 20–30-minute walk can go a long way in improving your physical and mental health. Listen to music, a podcast, or your thoughts, and enjoy the ease of this type of movement.

If you want something a bit more up-tempo, try a spin on the bike, or a sweat on the elliptical. These forms of exercise are much lower impact than the running that you’re accustomed to, and will allow you to elevate your heart rate, get the blood pumping, and break a sweat, without hindering your ability to recover.

Feeling especially achy? Pair these forms of movement with time dedicated to mobility and stretching for even greater recovery benefits. Instead of spending your normal workout time training at the high-level you’re so accustomed to, scale back and stay moving with these lower-intensity recovery practices.

People stretching and doing mobility.

TIP #6 – COMPLETE HYDRATION

Hydration as a recovery tool? ABSOLUTELY! But why?

Water plays an important role in your body’s ability to flush toxins, transport nutrients, and normalize body temperature and PH balance. Plus, you probably lost a significant amount of sweat from your race! Proper hydration is a prerequisite to effective recovery.

But there’s one thing you need to know: water alone will not hydrate the body. You need electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride to replenish and rehydrate. Each of these electrolytes plays a valuable role in the body’s day-to-day functions.

Your best source for a complete profile of electrolytes will come in the form of a supplement that supplies an effective dosage of sodium, paired with the other elements that lead to enhanced hydration. This may be the simplest, yet most underappreciated recovery tip of all. Drink water and add a great-tasting electrolytes mix into the fold; you will see immediate results in how you feel and perform.

You train for months, make sacrifices, and leave it all out on the course come race day, and yet, recovery is always the final straw. It shouldn’t be this hard! Apply the 6 recovery tips above, and trust that with time and patience, you will once again be performing to your greatest potential!

OUR BEST SELLERS

SHOP ALL BESTSELLERS
@exclude
@hide-plp Fudge Chocolate
@hide-plpCinnamon Roll
@hide-plp Blueberry Muffin
@hide-plp Chocolate Peanut Butter
@hide-plp Milk N' Cookies
@hide-plp Nutter Bar Blast
@hide-plp Strawberry
@hide-plp Unflavored
4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
7,971 Reviews

Whey Protein Powder

Servings - 27

$44.99

  • Vanilla
  • Fudge Chocolate
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Milk N' Cookies
  • Nutter Bar Blast
  • Strawberry
  • Unflavored
4.9
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
4,927 Reviews

Flight / Pre Workout

Servings - 30

$44.99

  • Prickly Pear
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Pink Lemonade
4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars
236 Reviews

Go Gel / Endurance Gel

10 Single Serve Gel Packs

$29.99

  • Mixed Berry
  • Apple Cinnamon
4.9
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
1,236 Reviews

Electrolytes / Hydration Drink Mix

Servings - 50

$44.99

  • Strawberry
  • Salted Watermelon
  • Lemon Lime