The months of training have finally paid off. You've joined the elite ranks of runners and completed your marathon.
Tired? Achey? Running 26.2 miles might make you feel like that. If it was easy everybody would do it right?
You'll be back up and running in no time!
First thing's first...
Re-fuel to repair
Wiggle runner Claire says 'As tempting as it is to celebrate with a drink and any food you can get your hands on, try to eat at least 20g of protein as soon as you can.'
It's a good idea to do this within the 30 minutes after your run. This is known as the 'glycaemic window' when your muscles are hungry for food. Combine your protein with some carbs; a protein shake and a banana is a winning combination.
Keep on moving
It might seem like the last thing you want to do but a gentle walk can do wonders for recovery, getting the blood flowing again to get oxygen into those muscles. When Wiggle runner Kirsty completed the London marathon she had a little stroll along the Thames for a celebratory dinner and attributed this to feeling great the next day.
Even if it wasn't hot, you will have lost vital electrolytes through sweat so it's important to replenish supplies. Electrolyte tabs like High5 Zero Electrolyte Drink taste great and contain zero calories whilst still packing in Vitamin C and 5 electrolytes, including sodium, magnesium and potassium.
Then when you get home...
Stretch it out
Enjoy a good long stretch. Wiggle runner Annabelle recommends at least 15 minutes of stretching or if you can't manage that even movement 'in the direction of stretching' is good. Even if you just 'concentrate on releasing and relaxing every part of your body,' you'll feel a lot better.
Compress for success
On the night of a marathon, Wiggle runner Claire swears by sleeping in compression tights. Compression helps your muscles to recover by diverting oxygen to them which is essential for repair.
Early to bed
NB MCR say 'It is not uncommon for us all to be in bed by 10pm, or for us to be having a nap on a Sunday afternoon wearing our compression socks. Sleep is arguably the best thing you can do with regards to recovery.'
It doesn't end there
Give those muscles some love
Your legs have been through a lot. A sports massage will help to correct problems in soft tissue and stimulate blood-flow, helping to accelerate recovery and prevent injury.
If you can't get to a sports therapist, a foam roller can do wonders too. 'We have several foam rollers lying around the place to help iron out sore muscles and flush out toxins,' say NB MCR.
Remember to treat yourself
Even NB MCR enjoy a naughty treat now and then. 'There is no harm in indulging in a slice of cake every now and again, and the odd curry or pizza as long as we are getting adequate amounts of high-quality non-processed food for the majority of our meals.'
Keep it simple
Finally, the NB MCR runners all agree on one thing: there's no secret to recovery. 'I’m sure you could find somewhere on the internet that the key to recovering well is sleeping with socks on your hands or eating 20 apples a day, but it's really all about getting plenty of sleep, hydrating, refueling well after training, sports massage, foam rolling, compression, icing and running easy in between our hard sessions and just generally relaxing!'
Is your marathon still to come? Or got another coming up?