Over the past 34 years, the Twin Cities Marathon has become an iconic autumn tradition. Runners and spectators
alike look forward to this beautiful urban race, which is held the first weekend in October. In fact, in 2012 Departures Magazine included the Twin Cities Marathon in its list of “World’s Top Ten Marathons.” This year over 11,000 people ran the marathon, with over 28,000 people participating in various TCM-related running events.
Marathon runners spend months in preparation for the 26.2-mile course, but the post-run recovery is equally as important. Taking care of your body after a strenuous run can prevent injury and dramatically decrease muscle recovery time. Read on for a few easy tips to consider after completing a marathon.
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Top 5 Post Marathon Recovery Tips
- Don’t stop moving. After you’ve just spent hours running, stopping right after you cross the finish line can
lead to lactic acid buildup and muscle cramping. Try to walk around for at least 10-15 minutes after you’ve finished the race, and walk intermittently throughout the rest of the day.
- Eat a post-run snack. Aim for a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of finishing the race. Try a slice of whole grain bread topped with peanut butter and a banana, or a bowl of chicken noodle soup and chocolate milk. (Because a PB&J is quick, portable and the ingredients are usually provided at the end of most races, check out the PB&J twists in the pics below.)
- Stay hydrated. Extended, strenuous cardiovascular exercise depletes the stores of essential electrolytes sodium and potassium in the body. Sip on vegetable juice such as V8 (not low-sodium), or a sports drink like Gatorade to replenish these minerals.
- Give your muscles some TLC. Consider scheduling a post-race massage, or do it yourself with a foam roller. Massage will decrease the amount of lactic acid buildup in the muscles. However, wait at least two hours after your run to minimize the chance of extra muscle tenderness.
- Hit the trails again. Though it may be tempting to take a few days (or weeks!) off from running, engaging in moderate-intensity cross training activities such as swimming and cycling after your race can help keep you in shape while preventing injury and illness.
Article Provided by Katie Costello, MPH, RDN Candidate-University of Minnesota School of Public Health