Wishing good luck to every running in the Rock in Roll Marathon tomorrow morning here in DC.
Here’s what to do—and when to do it—to bounce back from your big day.
When Leaving the Finishing Line: Keep walking! Movement helps the heart pump fresh, oxygen-rich blood through your body. Avoid stopping or sitting for at least 30 minutes postrace. Walk to the food tent to start the refueling process—have about 300 calories of simple carbs (some sports drink and a banana) within a half hour of finishing.
Back at Home: Soak your legs in a cool bath for 15 minutes to reduce inflammation. Walk around for 10 to 30 minutes, two or three times during the afternoon. Between your walks, recline with your legs elevated. Eat small meals every two to three hours—aim to get 25 percent of calories from protein, 20 percent from fat, and the rest from complex carbs. And drink water or sports drink—your urine should be pale yellow.
In the Days After: Continue to hydrate. Massage sore muscles with your hands or a foam roller for five minutes each day. Rub Arnica (found at Wholefoods) anywhere your feel sore to reduce inflammation and pain. Every other day, do a gentle workout to encourage blood flow to recovering muscles: Walk for 10 minutes, run a few seconds each minute for 10 to 20 minutes, and finish with 10 minutes of walking.
In the Weeks After: Gradually add running time to your every-other-day workouts until you’re back to where you were before the race. On nonrunning days, walk or do gentle cross-training. If you are eager to participate in another race, wait at least three weeks before doing a 5-K, and four to six weeks before doing anything longer.