Cold water better than hot when it comes to marathon recovery
Runners can replenish by drinking water and eating foods with sodium and carbs
Resist that temptation to slide into a Jacuzzi or even a warm bathtub.
It could get you into hot water.
If you ran the Honolulu Marathon today, following a few simple tips now and in the coming weeks could vastly improve the quickness and the quality of your recovery so you can get back on the road and begin training for next year's run.
Distance running expert Toni Reavis said first-time marathoners often make the mistake of trying to ease their aching muscles by soaking in a warm bath or hot tub. It might feel good, but it won't help your body recover.
"The heat's a bad thing. You don't want warm, you want cold," Reavis said. "Take cold showers. That recovers the muscles much better than warm water."
Reavis pointed out that world-class runner Paula Radcliffe takes ice baths after races to improve recovery.
You should drink and eat as soon as you can after a marathon, said Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon.
"Get some carbs in you," he said.
As usual after a sports event (as well as during), it's a good idea to drink lots of water.
Doctors also say it's important to replace sodium, so sports drinks are a good idea, as well as eating salty food like pretzels.
For the first week or two, don't even think about running. There might be a strong urge to run, because you are conditioned to do so on a daily basis. Resist. There will be plenty of time for it later.
"Coming back too quickly is like training too hard, too long, too fast, too early. You'll break the system down," Reavis said. "So give yourself four to six weeks, preferably six weeks for first-timers. Take a couple of days off. Walk."
People with jobs that require physical labor might have a hard time completing their usual tasks the first day or two after a marathon and might need understanding from bosses and co-workers.
"They might be grouchy, too, because they're so sore," Meyer said. "If you can, you should probably take a couple of days off."
Reavis said reactions to putting so much stress on a body vary from person to person -- and from marathon to marathon.
"Sometimes you feel bad, sometimes you feel great, depending on how hard you pushed yourself. But always remember that a marathon takes more out of you than you first realize," he said. "Training for distance running is like constructing a house of cards. You can make it very strong, but you'd better be meticulous at each level. You can't go too quick because the whole thing will just fall down. Recovering is very much the same way. You've got a lot of microscopic tears in the tissue, that's what the inflammation is.
"Sense it, get the feel of your body. But the things you feel, now back off even a little bit from that and that should make it safe."