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Post-Race Recovery

Posted November 01, 2022 by Nilesh Shah, M.D.

man drinking smoothie

So after months of training you did it, you completed the race for which you've been training. But, how you treat your body post-race is very important.

Next two weeks:

  • Continually re-hydrate. Your body will have lost significant amounts of fluid and electrolytes which need to be replaced.
  • Stay active and loose. If you can, go for a short walk to do some light cross training the day after. Avoid rigorous activities.
  • Eat well
  • Rest often
  • Consider a massage a few days after the race
  • Wait 5-7 days before running again – begin with soft surfaces and do not exceed over 25 percent of your peak weekly mileage.
  • Soreness is normal, but pain and swelling that linger or are more severe than expected, should be discussed with a healthcare professional

Also, don’t be surprised if you come down with a case of the post-race blues. Experts say after we accomplish a goal, it’s easy to lose focus and feel a bit out of sorts. Here are some tips to help you get back to your old self.

  1. Have some fun. Remember what life was like before marathon training took over your life? Ward off the blahs by planning something fun for yourself in the weeks after your race. Even take a week off from running! It might seem scary — but a short hiatus could spark a new appreciation for the sport.
  2. Set a new goal. Try something different like a mud run, or inspire a newbie runner to lace up for their first fun run with you. You’ll find it’s rewarding to invest your efforts into something other than calculating your splits.
  3. Redefine your definition of success. If you came short of your marathon finish time goal, don’t let the disappointment get you down. With so many factors out of your control, it’s important to acknowledge that meeting your goal sometimes just isn’t in the cards. Instead, focus on the many ways you owned the race.


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