How To Recover And Stay Motivated In The Aftermath Of A Marathon

You did it!!! You just ran 26.2 miles and you feel like you conquered the world. Your muscles and joints, on the other hand, are giving you a painful reminder of every step. It’s really easy to get complacent after completing something so huge. I’m pretty sure anyone that has ever worked out before has thought about how cool it would be to be able to scratch a marathon off their bucket list. So what can you honestly do to top that? …..And on top of that your body basically just wants to crawl in a hole and lay there for days. That’s why I decided to write this article to explain how to recover and stay motivated in the aftermath of a marathon.


Running that far has completely depleted the glucose in your muscles. Immediately after the race you should eat a ton of protein and simple carbs, like white bread and pasta. I wouldn’t normally advise those types of carbs, but at this point your body is desperate and needs something fast.

Those high glycemic index foods get broken down super fast. It’s basically the quickest way to get glycogen into your system.

Make sure you don’t go any more than 3 or 4 hours between meals. You really need a lot of protein to rebuild your worn muscles.

Also, one of the most beneficial things that you can do is to jump into an ice bath. You want to get the water somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees. You can use your bathtub or an empty trashcan (obviously make sure it’s clean first) to fill up with water and bags of ice.

After the ice bath jump into a warm shower. The alternating temperatures will get your blood flowing and also decrease inflammation in the sore muscles.


Rest Like It’s Your Workout

By all means take a week off from your normal routin. You need and you definitely deserve it. But don’t just turn into a couch potato.

Resting doesn’t mean that you have to just lay sprawled out on the couch motionless. Immediately after the race and for the next couple days don’t do anything except some light static stretching.

After a couple days you should start doing active recovery exercises to make sure blood is circulating into your muscles. That will help with recovery.

Also active recovery exercise like yoga and dynamic stretching works on mobility and flexibility, which is crucial. After your muscles get warn down really hard sometimes they’ll tighten up a lot.


What’s Next?

During your week off after the race start to think about the next step. Fitness is a way of life driven by challenges like this. You just accomplished a huge one, so it might be tough to find a way to top it. So just think, what are your weaknesses? What are your other goals?

Marathons don’t have to be a one time thing. Sign up for another one in a few months and try to improve your time. You can work on the speed of your gait by doing sprints, or improve the power in each step with resistance training.

If you’re ready to move on to a whole different challenge, there’s plenty out there.

If you like the long distance cardio stuff then try a triathlon. There are other crazy events like the Spartan race and Tough Mudder. Those might not be as prestigious as a marathon, but trust me you’ll feel accomplished when you’re finished.

Tough Mudder

This isn’t the end of the road, so keep challenging yourself with more events and goals. It’s crucial that you recover and stay motivated after a marathon. I hope you liked this article and you take a second to share it on facebook. You’ll definitely also like to know 5 Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Muscle Soreness.

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.