Follow this simple damage control protocol after your marathon to help your legs feel better:
1. Immediately after the marathon keep walking for at least 10 minutes. Avoid prolonged standing.
2. As soon as you can, take a 10-minute ice bath. Even a cold water shower is fine.
3. Change into a pair of graduated compression socks to help promote healing blood flow for the rest of the day.
4. Don’t get a massage the day of your marathon. It could make things worse. You have micro-tears in muscles and immediate massage will only make it worse and hinder any repair. Instead, schedule it for the next 1-2 days. Likewise, save your foam roller for the day after the race.
5. Elevate your legs above your heart for 10-15 minutes. This can help reduce inflammation. You can do it twice a day for the next 2 days. Basically lie on your back and legs along the wall. This is very effective.
6. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory drug like Advil.
7. The #1 weapon you have in your recovery arsenal is sleep. Sleep well.
8. Active Recovery is Better than Total Rest
- Slow recovery run of 2-3 miles
Obviously, if you developed any type of injury or have sharp pain, you should see your doctor to get a more structured treatment.