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How Much Rest Is Needed After A Marathon?

Rest is a vital part of running. It’s important for ensuring that you sufficiently recover after your marathon so that you can do more marathons in the future! After you have run your marathon, the next thing that you need to do is take some hard earned rest.

In reality, it depends on the individual in question. Different people will need different amounts of recovery time, after all. In general though, it’s always a good idea to take one rest day for every mile that you ran. 26 days is usually a good estimate. 

Now, it’s important to clarify what exactly that rest will consist of. It does not necessarily mean sitting on your couch and not moving at all for 26 days. Instead, it means that you are taking a rest from training in an intense manner. This means staying away from things like races or working hard on your speed.

You can still run during this time frame, just don’t push yourself too hard. Allow yourself to go on short walks and look after yourself during this time - you’ve earned it, after all!

As time goes on, you can then begin to work on the more difficult stuff like speedwork. In the immediate month or so following the marathon, however, it’s best to work on recovering. Marathons are hard work, after all! 

What should I do immediately after a marathon

The most important thing to do after running a marathon is to take some time to recover. Of course, there are also other things that you should do immediately after running, too. This will be different for every runner, but there are some things that are worth doing, regardless of your experience level or of how much you ran in the marathon.

The first thing that you should do is have a shower after the race. Try to alternate between using hot and cold water on the legs as this can help the muscles on the legs. It also helps to remove all the sweat after your hard work! 

The next thing that you should do is give your body some fuel. At this stage, it’s especially important to eat some protein. Protein is essential for helping your body to recover. Something as simple as a protein bar should help, but you should get a full meal with lean protein if possible.

After this, try and move a little bit to keep your muscles going. A short walk should be enough. Then, get some sleep if you can. 

In the weeks following your run, you should take some time to recover by doing things like light jobs or brisk walks. Gradually build up to more intense activity - don’t try to force yourself to sprint or run long distance straight away. The aim is to fully recover after a rather difficult run, and pushing yourself too much can be detrimental.

Can you walk after a marathon?

It’s easy to think that you should do nothing but sit down after a marathon. You may be feeling sore after the marathon, so you may want to sit down to recover.

Actually though, walking after a marathon is a very good idea. It’s not a good idea to stop right after you finish the marathon. This is because you have been running at a consistent pace for the past couple of hours, so if you suddenly stop you may find that your body is shocked.

As such, your muscles may begin to lock and the blood will stay around your legs, affecting your circulation. This is not the best thing, since it can negatively affect your recovery. 

Have you ever heard of a cool down? Well, a short walk after your marathon can act as a cool down for your muscles. After your marathon is over, you should walk for around 10 minutes. This helps your body to go back to its usual state while resting.

Then, in the hours after the marathon is finished, you should get out of your seat and walk for roughly 10 to 15 minutes every couple of hours. Make sure that you regularly stretch your legs too, just to keep the blood pumping as it should around your body.

Should you run the day after a marathon?

If you enjoy running, it’s only natural to be itching to get back to it. But should you try to run the day after a marathon?

The short answer is no - running the day after a marathon may hinder your recovery. Your body needs time away from running for a little while. In theory you could have a short, slow paced run the day after you have done your marathon but this isn’t necessarily the best idea.

So if you’re not running after the marathon, what should you do instead? Good question! It’s best to partake in a non impact form of exercise after a marathon if you simply must get up and move. This includes activities such as cycling or swimming.

You can also partake in a light walk. Ideally, you shouldn’t do anything too strenuous. You can build your fitness back up in the coming weeks, but in the meantime it’s best just to focus on your recovery. 

After you have done the marathon, it’s best to take around 3 to 7 days off. Avoid running if possible, and allow yourself to sleep, eat and just live in the hype of your recent achievement. After this point, you are absolutely fine to return to running, though it’s best to avoid long distance runs and speedwork at first.

You don’t want to push yourself too hard after you have done a marathon, after all. Slow and steady wins the race! 


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