Resting is just as important as training when it comes to improving your performance. It’s essential that you take a well-deserved break after such an intense workout, so you body can recuperate and avoid burnout. So… how exactly do you recover after a marathon (or any long run)?
- Cool down after your race. You’re exhausted, excited, and patting yourself on the back, but now’s not the time to just plop on the ground. Go for a light jog and stretch afterwards so that your muscles cool down and you prevent cramping.
- Stretch. Stretch after the race and several times a day for the next few days. Your muscles get really tight, and stretching will help loosen them and increase your flexibility.
- Massage your muscles. You can go to a professional or do this yourself with a bit of oil or even petroleum jelly. I use the tools below so I can get in deep to really loosen my IT bands. My IT bands are ALWAYS tight! Yowch!
This, my friends, is The Stick. It’s a 19 inch stick with 10 white plastic cylinders around it. The plastic cylinders remind me of marshmallows, which is always fun. You grab the stick by the grippy handles and run the marshmallows along your legs to massage them. The stick is bendable, and you can apply more force to get a deeper massage. This is super portable and really does do wonders.
And this is a foam roller. There are plenty on the market with grooves and texture, but mine looks just like this one. How does it work? You roll on it! Let gravity do its thing and the weight of your body will apply the force needed to get this thing deep in your muscles to roll out the knots. I feel that I have less control over which muscles I can massage with the foam roller versus The Stick, but you may find that you like the foam roller more.
4. Drink lots of water. This will help flush out the toxins that are released when you massage your sore muscles.
5. Go for a light jog. I know you’ll be sore afterwards, but a light jog at an easy pace will help bring blood to your muscles and flush out the toxins. Be careful not to overdo it though! It’s just as important to rest as it is to put in a tough workout. Ultimately, it’s the combination of both, at the right time, that will help you drastically improve your running performance.