Whether it's your first marathon, half marathon, or multiple day charity walk - or your fiftieth - you must know how to recover when it's over. If you don't recover properly, you may find yourself with an injury you didn't expect, which could keep you off the track for a long time to come. You may also find yourself so sore that you don't know how to even get out of bed in the morning after the event. Don't worry, though. With proper recovery, you'll be back to your old self, and running or walking again, before you know it.
Don't Underestimate Rest
Many people want to get right back on the treadmill or hit the pavement immediately after their event. If you are someone who cannot miss a workout, you should make yourself rest, at least for a day. Rest is extremely important as it gives your muscles time to rebuild themselves after lots of physical activity. Even in normal workouts, it is important to rest for a day or two in between workouts. Resting will actually make you stronger and help you build more muscle. Therefore, do not be afraid to rest after your event. Taking a day off will not hurt you, in fact, just the opposite. On your rest day, take the time to do some things that you have been putting off because of your intense training schedule. Clean the house, watch a movie, read a book, or work in the garden. Do something that is not strenuous to occupy your time.
Move a Little
Although you should rest, it is important not to lie in bed all day. It might be tempting, especially if you are sore, but not moving will only make you more sore and could cause an injury. When your muscles start to heal, they will tighten up and become difficult to move. If you lie around all day without getting up or walking a little bit, your muscles will tighten and, when you use them again, it's possible to pull or even tear one. Instead of lying around, take a leisurely stroll around the block a few times a day, go for an easy hike, or walk the dog. You can even do some cleaning or work outside if you want to. It is just important that you do not remain still all day. Strike a balance between working your sore muscles too much and not working enough.
Visit a Doctor if Necessary
If you are experiencing pain or something else that doesn't feel right, go see your doctor immediately. Many problems only get worse with time, and the longer you wait before seeking treatment, the worse it could get. Many people experience extreme pain or other seemingly unrelated problems - like shortness of breath or exhaustion - after completing an athletic event. Don't think that these problems will go away on their own. Only your doctor can know for sure. It's not a bad idea to have a doctor's appointment set up for a day or two after the event in case you need it. You can always cancel it if everything seems fine.
Eat and Sleep
Just like you should never underestimate the power of rest, you should never underestimate sleeping and eating. If you have been walking for several days or running for several hours, your body has used many of its nutrients. If you find yourself craving a certain food, you are probably in need of a nutrient that food carries. Your best bet is to get that food and eat it. Sleep is also extremely healthy, as your body heals itself best during sleep. Take a few naps and you'll feel as good as new in no time.