Even though it is tempting to do so, don’t sprawl across the floor after you go past the finish line. Stopping all movement after such a long race reduces the return of blood that has collected in the leg muscles – leading potentially to giddiness or even fainting, says Dr Tian. Walk around to keep your muscles active: It does make sense to rush for your finisher medal and T-shirt – if you still have the energy to do so.
There is no real need to eat immediately after the race – unless you’re absolutely starving – says Foo Jia Min, a dietician at the SSMC and Changi Sports Medicine Centre. Eat a carbohydrate- and protein-rich meal two to four hours after the run, to replenish all the glycogen your muscles used up during the run.
Rehydrate immediately after the run with a sports drink. It’ll help replace the electrolytes, like sodium, which you’ve lost because of your perspiration, says Foo. And to get a better idea of how much water you’ve lost, weigh yourself before and after the run – the difference in weight offers a good estimation. Over the next two to four hours, try to drink 1 – 1.5 litres of water for each kilogram lost. Alternatively, monitor the colour of your urine. If it is dark yellow, you’ll need to continue to hydrate youself.
You can go for a sports massage immediately after the run, says Joan A Morco, a sports trainer at the SSMC. It won’t take up much of your time – lasting between five to fifteen minutes on average. Sport massages are specially designed to help you recover from the rigours of your run. It lessens muscle soreness, improves blood circulation around your muscle tissue, and promotes the removal of metabolic wastes (let’s just say that you’ll have no problems during your post-run toilet trip).