By Patrick McCrann Marathon Nation
Phase Three: 72 Hours
By the end of 72 hours you’ll be through the toughest part of your recovery process. But you need to get there first. This period is marked by some of the deepest need for recovery, for once the adrenaline wears off the fatigue and soreness will be all that’s left.
1. Stay Active — Do your best to avoid being stationary other than sleeping. Light walking, an easy dip in the pool or a short spin on an exercise bike will each, in their own way, help your muscles flush out the toxins and after-effects of the race. Frequent rest will be needed, but total rest is your enemy here.
2. Continue Quality Foods – You are what you eat, especially when your body is in such a vulnerable state. A treat or two is OK, but try to save the real craziness for a later date when you can truly savor the food (and bear the consequences).
3. Self-Massage – Lightly working on your calves, feet, hamstrings, glutes and quads is another great way to stay loose and promote recovery. Whether you use your hands or a fancy gadget, taking periodic breaks to focus on your trouble areas will really help.
Once you have emerged from the most intensive recovery, your work is still not done. Your body is still a long way from being at 100 percent. General guidelines include staying active by walking or including some cross-training like cycling or swimming. The earliest you should consider running is about a week out, but if you can stay away from the sneakers for a full 14 days you’ll really be ready to begin the process of getting your stride back.