Just as you had a training schedule to prepare you for the race, you need a recovery schedule to get you back to your normal state. Frank Velasquez, ATC, CSCS, co-owner of VESLA 360 Sports Performance & Physical Therapy, shares his top 10 tips for recovering after a marathon or other long distance race. – Rachel Jones
ON RACE DAY:
1) Refuel within 15-30 minutes after the race. You may not feel hungry, but eating or drinking something light is recommended to refill the empty glycogen stores that start the recovery process. Reach for a handful of pretzels, fruit, bagel, or chocolate milk.
2) Get out of your wet clothes. Have a loose, comfortable, and dry set of clothes ready and waiting for you to change into after the race.
3) Skip the post-race massage offered by the marathon staff; it’s too soon.
4) Instead, opt for a dip in a cold water tub. Stand waist-deep in the 50-60ºF water for 10 minutes at a time.
5) Enjoy the marathon post-party! You have certainly earned it.
1-3 DAYS POST-RACE:
6) Rehydrate and refuel by sticking to your healthy eating schedule from training.
7) Set up a massage with a VESLA 360 licensed massage therapist within a few days after the race. Go for a light and flush recovery massage.
4-7 DAYS POST-RACE:
8) Limit the volume and intensity of your running for at least one week after the race. Non-weight bearing cardio – such as biking, swimming, or walking – is recommended.
9) Strength training should be minimal in volume and light in intensity during the first week back. Focus on the glutes, hamstrings, and mid-back – also known as “the posterior chain.”
10) Your body will tell you when it’s ready to crank up your training. Even then, it’s best to ease into. Remember, always listen to your body!