You’ve finished the race. You’ve beaten the rest. Took home the award for the distance running category. You’re elated. You’re so happy you want to shout to the whole world, jump around with joy and basically celebrate until you feel your bones drop. All these are normal. Whether it was your first or twentieth marathon, you ran over all those miles, conquered the pain and ache of your muscles. Now, it’s time for you to take a few days of rest to recover and rest. Here are a couple of reminders you may want to take advantage of to ensure that you’re hale and hearty even when you’re off the field.
First things first: drink. Drink plenty of fluids and water, energy drinks are great too. You need to replenish all the sodium, fluid and electrolytes you lost during the race. This is important. Not doing so may produce an electrolyte imbalance in your body and would lead to adverse effects for you. So remember to drink lots of water after a race. And to drink it right.
After restoring the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes inside your body, if you can handle it, try taking an ice bath a few hours after the race. If you think your muscles are still too sore for that, try doing it after a few days. The cold water will do wonders for your aching muscles, especially for your joints, your quads and knees.
If you’ve been running for a long time, chances are, you’ve also been eating healthy for a long time. It’s even more crucial to make sure that you’re on a healthy diet after finishing a race. You need all the protein as well as good carbohydrates that you can get to repair the damage to your muscles and joints caused by the strenuous exertions required by the race.
If you want to go through your morning routine, just keep everything loose and light. Stretch your muscles easy. No vigorous exercises yet.
Sleep a lot. Don’t worry about it. Your body needs to recover from the fatigue that competing in a race has brought on. It’s normal. After a few days, the fatigue will be gone and you’ll feel good as new and even more prepared to tackle on new adventures.
If you can, go for a massage. There’s nothing else that beats having a professional work out all the kinks on your legs, arms and back. This is a great way to remedy the stiffness in your joints after a grueling race.
Know that it’s normal to feel a little lost and sad after a race. Imagine having to restructure your daily routine around your training and the preparation you did for weeks just to ensure that you were ready for anything on the field. Well, imagine not needing to go through all that anymore or having no goal in sight might make you feel lost. The best solution to that is to find yourself a new goal. Get yourself something else you can pursue. You’ll only be out of sorts if you’re not busy.
Another thing that you must absolutely do, after winning that distance running medal is this: enjoy your win. Jump for joy if you want to. Do the rhumba. Sing hallelujah. Whatever you want, enjoy it. Relish your winning moment. You deserve to.
And after that, move on.