Congratulations you just completed the marathon! You put in your hard time training, did all your stretching and warm-ups, made it the 26.2 miles, and you completed your goal! But now that the adrenaline is wearing off, and the soreness is setting in, what should you do?
Keep Moving: The most important thing to do after the marathon, is to keep moving! Your muscles will have an excessive amount of lactic acid build-up. This is a byproduct of muscle use and fatigue, and is responsible for making you sore. The best way to combat this nasty product is to keep moving, get your blood flowing, and flush it out of your system.
Stay Hydrated: Make sure you continue to hydrate yourself. Even though you hit all the water stops along the route, your body may still be dehydrated. In fact, you will most likely need a drink with electrolytes to battle your body’s salt imbalance. Without the proper balance of water and salt, you can have major cramping in your muscles.
Stretch and Foam Roll: You will also need to stretch and foam roll to prevent cramping, stiffness and soreness. Make sure to take your time during the stretches and hold for at least 30-60 seconds. This will allow the muscles to relax into the stretch (specifically, it will allow the Golgi Tendon Apparatus to relax). Foam rolling is another great way to stretch and release any tension in muscle fibers. Focus on the areas of soreness and slowly roll over those areas. This will help stimulate blood flow, allowing the muscle fibers to relax and release the lactic acid build-up.
Seek Medical Attention: If anything continues to be sore for more than 3 days after the marathon without relief, seek medical attention. Most states allow you to directly see a physical therapist without seeing a doctor or needing a prescription. A physical therapist can quickly evaluate your symptoms to determine if any injury was sustained. They will also be able to direct you if medication, imaging or other medical attention is required. In most cases, muscle strains/sprains will be the most common injuries. But in more severe cases, stress fractures can occur.
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