So you’ve completed the 26.2! Congratulations! Now it’s time for a well deserved recuperation period. In most cases, it will take two or three weeks to fully recuperate from running a marathon. However, exercise physiologists and sports medicine experts who believe that you should rest one day for every mile you ran in a marathon. That would amount to 26 days of rest.

Your marathon recuperation period begins the moment you cross the finish line. As soon as you finish the race, continue to walk a bit so that you can loosen up. Then, immediately replace fluids and electrolytes. Check your urine in the days following the marathon. If it is a dark yellow color, you are probably dehydrated. Continue to drink until the urine is clear. Most marathons provide post race high carbohydrate food such as bananas. Go ahead, indulge!

It is not uncommon to have sore quadriceps for a few weeks following the marathon. In fact, walking down stairs will probably be a bit painful. Some people find that walking down backwards can alleviate the pain. If you walk down backwards, do so with caution so that you don’t fall. Elevating your legs at the end of the day is a good idea. Massage can also be very helpful, as well as stretching exercises. If you can not afford a massage, try using the foam rollers that are popular for self massage. If you notice any swollen areas, treat them immediately with an ice pack. You can also take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

Often people develop a blister on one of their feet during the marathon. If this happens, there is a tendency to favor the opposite leg. Unfortunately, this can lead to bad movement habits. Keep in mind that the other leg has worked just as hard, and will not react well to taking on additional stress.

Studies have shown that the blood regains its normal constitution in approximately five to seven days after the marathon. However, muscular re-building and glycogen replenishment can take longer. This means that your muscular ability may not return to normal until 10 days after the race. Take this into consideration, and try not to push yourself too hard. Another thing to consider is the fact is that your immune system will be in low gear in the days following the marathon. Eat healthy, and get plenty of rest. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit depressed. Coming down from a marathon can be anti-climatic. However, setting goals for future races can boost your spirits.