Don’t Get a Post-Race Massage
Let’s get the biggest heartbreaker out of the way first: You shouldn’t get that complimentary deep-tissue massage offered at the end of the race. According to Gallucci, your muscles are completely broken down at this point and are actually bleeding. The last thing you want is to have someone working their hands into them, increasing blood flow to the area.
Instead, wait one to three days and stay away from deep-tissue work at first. Massages with light strokes are ideal. Also consider getting warmed up beforehand with heating pads or a bath. The same thing applies with cool-down stretching: It’s best to wait until the next day when your muscles aren’t as inflamed, then ease into it slowly.
Don’t Go Out For a Victory Meal
Finishing a marathon is one of those bucket list life events that gives you free reign to eat whatever you want in massive quantities. Hey, you deserve it.
But even if you’re feeling pretty good after your marathon (and ready to reward yourself for your hard work), your body will not be capable of breaking down a large amount of food and will be forced to expel it in one way or another (sorry for the visual).
Stick to small snacks for the rest of the day, which will allow your body to digest everything it needs and use those nutrients to start you down the road to recovery. The good news? Scheduling your victory meal a few days later checks out with the doc.
Don’t Do the Dramatic Finish Line Moment
Gallucci once had a patient come in after a race with a serious injury—but not from running. The runner’s wife was so excited to congratulate her husband for accomplishing his goal that she ran right up to him and gave him a huge hug after he crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, this runner, like most, was extremely fatigued and hadn’t quite caught his breath or balance. He collapsed on the pavement and shattered his kneecap.
Lesson learned: Save the dramatics for a time when you’re a little less clumsy.