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Many a first marathon is also a last marathon. And the reason is often not the race itself, but what the runner does in the hours and days following the race. Here are a few tips to help make your first marathon the first of many:
• Don't stop and sit or lie down immediately after the race, unless you're injured. Instead, keep moving. Walk… gently stretch… but don't stop moving.
• Eat, drink and be healthy. Don't guzzle and gorge, but eat a little something (perhaps a bagel with peanut butter or some yogurt) and drink water or a familiar electrolyte solution shortly after the race. Keep drinking more than usual (water, that is) for at least a couple of days after your race.
• Get a massage. Take a bath. This is the time to splurge on your muscles. They've worked hard for you, and deserve a little pampering. Both a massage and a warm bath will help you and your muscles relax and recover.
• Don't take a few days – or a few weeks – off. While you certainly don't want to go for a 20 mile run the day after a marathon, walk a few miles, or jog lightly on a soft surface such as grass or a jogging trail paved in wood chips.
• Set your next goal. If you don't already have a next race in mind, get one. Write it down, and begin planning your training for that next race. Focusing on your next goal helps keep you going.