All of the hard work leading up to a marathon can take a lot out of you. All of the early mornings and weekend long runs can limit your energy for social encounters, and sometimes non-athletes don’t understand the sacrifices. But in the end, after you cross that finish line, the sacrifices are all worth it.
More than just the training though, one of the most difficult things about running a marathon is realizing that it is over. The post-marathon hangover is real. You will analyze your splits, assess how you felt leading up to the race (and during), and in some cases start planning your next 26.2 mile trot!
Below are some tips to help you get over the post-marathon blues, and get focused on progressing as a runner and an athlete.
1.) Recovery the RIGHT way! After the race, try and get in a nice mix between carbohydrates and protein.. Chocolate milk is one of the most effective recovery drinks. Bonus it is also cost effective. Then within 60-90 minutes get in a meal rich in carbohydrates. (Trust us, save the beer until after the protein has been ingested (1).)
2.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Oh did we mention to hydrate? A key part of recovery is replenishing fluids and electrolyte losses. Sip on Nuun throughout the day, to help get back to a positive water balance state, and to pump electrolytes back in your system for adequate muscle recovery.
3.) Take in some Vitamin C – your immune system is heavily compromised during endurance activities. This means your need for Vitamin C won’t increase during, but it will increase after your marathon. Pick some foods rich in Vitamin C to help combat any illness that may follow (1). (Any citrus fruit should work.)
4.) INDULGE! This is the time to indulge, and treat your self to some sweet snacks, and beer. You deserve it, after all your hard training and dedication.
5.) Stretch-help loosen up the muscles that just took a beating.
6.) Take some time off of running to reflect. We know this sounds corny but, most first-time marathoners do not think they will ever run a marathon again after the first one. However, over time runners have been known to come back around to the idea of running 26.2, again. On the other hand, some runners jump back into training too quick. As a result, they do not give the body enough time to recover, which can lead to injury.
7.) During your reflection think about what worked and what didn’t. When planning for your next adventure, take note of the workouts, fueling/hydration techniques, and every day nutrition strategies that worked for you.
8.) Let us know what your next race is going to be. We want to cheer you on!