Whether you're running 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles at the 2013 HITS Omaha Marathon today, you have likely trained for several months. And it's important to remember that your training doesn't end at the finish line.
Here are some tips to a healthy recovery:
Keep moving after the finish line
Even if you feel like you can't take another step, keep going. It's important to keep walking after you finish. If you sit down, your muscles could cramp up. Keep walking for at least half a mile to keep your blood pumping and infuse your muscles with oxygenated blood.
Re-fuel and re-hydrate your body
Within 30 minutes of finishing the race, be sure to eat a snack of at least 200 calories. Simple carbohydrates are best. Avoid any fat. Also, replenish your electrolytes and drink water. For the first hour after a marathon, it's best to drink no more than 27 ounces total.
Soak in a cold bath
Immersing your legs in a cold or icy bath can help your muscles recover faster and help reduce your body's soreness.
The more walking, the better
After a meal and a shower, walk for an hour at an easy pace just to keep your legs moving. For the next few days, you may want to increase your consumption of vitamin C to speed up healing of your muscles and tendons.
The day after your race
Walk for 30 minutes to an hour or more if have the energy. Walking often after a marathon can reduce muscle soreness and keep your muscles from getting stiff. Don't forget to drink 4 to 6 ounces of fluids every hour over the next few days.
Jeff Galloway, a former Olympic runner, offers more recovery tips, marathon training plans and running advice on his website. To check it out, click here.