After you cross the finish line, get yourself something to eat and drink to help speed up the recovery process.
Post-marathon nutrition goals
Refuel muscle carbohydrate (glycogen) stores
Restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
Provide nutrients to help repair muscle damage
To put it simply, drink an electrolyte beverage, and eat some fruit, complex carbohydrates, and protein. The carbs and protein will help repair the muscle damage while the fruit will give you a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants to help combat free radical damage and boost your immune system.
In general this means, within 60 minutes of finishing:
60-100g carbohydrate (1.2g carbohydrate per kg body weight).
There’s no need to stay away from fat as research shows that eating as much as 55g of fat post-race, and another 55g in the two subsequent meals doesn’t get in the way of glycogen replenishment compared to lower fat meals with the same amount of carbohydrates.
If you don’t feel like eating after a race, even a protein bar or recovery smoothie is better than nothing.
The days after the race
During the days and weeks after the race, nutrition is one of the key post-marathon recovery methods that help repair the damage marathon induces on your muscles, cells and immune system for 3-14 days post-race.
Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran marathon runner, adjusting what you eat before, during and after the race can have a huge impact on not only your performance on race day, but also on how well you recover after the marathon and how quickly you can get back to training.
Whether you smashed your PR or not, once you cross that finish line, the most important goal of all is to enjoy your achievement – before you start the search for your next race!
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