Recover Right: 5 Tips To Quick Marathon Recovery

Follow these easy recovery tips and you’ll be back on the road before you know it!

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Follow these easy recovery tips and you’ll be back on the road before you know it!

Written by: Linzay Logan

Last Sunday I, along with 32,000 others, ran the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Marathon. I trained and trained and the race went off without a hitch. Cloudless sunny skies and an ice-cold beer at the finish line were the icing on the top of a great race. Crossing the finish line is not the be all end all of the marathon, though. Recovering from a race is just as important than training for one if you intend on getting back on your feet for another race any time soon. Follow these easy recovery tips and you’ll be back on the road, logging miles and getting ready for an even better future race.

  1. Get up! Collapsing on your ever-so-comfy couch the second you get home from the race (I hope you showered first at least) is only going to make your muscles tighter and sorer. Take quick walks around the couch every half hour or so to loosen those hurting muscles a little bit. It might hurt while you’re doing it but it will cut down on recovery time.
  2. Ice, ice, ice! Take an ice bath or ice your knees, shins, ankles, calves or whatever hurts. This is another trick that hurts when you’re doing it, but will make you feel infinitely better the next day. For icing tips, go here.
  3. Re-fuel! After a marathon, your body is pretty depleted. You pushed harder and ran farther than your body is used to and you need to fuel it back up. Drinking a sport drink or chocolate milk is a great way to rehydrate and re-fuel all the nutrients you lost over the last 26.2 miles. And don’t forget about good ol’ fashion water. Drink lots of h2o.
  4. Rest! It is going to take a few days to recover from running a marathon. Don’t get restless and try lacing up your running shoes too quickly. If you don’t give your body adequate time to recover you are much more susceptible to injury and then you’ll be hung up on the couch a whole lot longer than you bargained for.
  5. Take baby steps! A few days after your marathon you might start to feel like a normal person who can walk without the “day-after-the-marathon” swagger. (Check out this YouTube video of day-after marathoners.) Don’t go out there and run 15 miles the week after your race because you feel all right. Certainly, your muscles wont appreciate it. Instead, start out with fewer miles and work your way back up and incorporate cross training. Taking a walk or hitting up the elliptical may be all your body can handle for a week or two.