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UPMC Offers Post-Race Advice to Pittsburgh Marathon Runners

PITTSBURGH, April 29, 2010 – Running a marathon (or even a half marathon) is no easy feat for the body and requires special post-race care. UPMC Sports Medicine, the medical sponsor of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, recommends the following tips to optimize recovery:

Recovery Begins At The Finish Line

The following advice can help you jump-start the marathon recovery process – as soon as you finish the race.

  • If you feel ill or injured at the finish line, ask to be escorted to the medical tent.
  • Examine your feet and body after the race. If you have a severe blister, do not try to treat it yourself. Experts in the medical tent are trained to properly treat blisters.
  • You must continue to walk after finishing the race. Move for at least 20 minutes. This simple action greatly assists your body in the recovery process.
  • Slowly drink fluids that contain salt and carbohydrates (such as sports drinks and fruit juices) as well as water.
  • Even the most experienced marathon runner can run into post-race complications. Ask someone to meet you at the finish line and stay with you in case you need help.

Post-Race Recovery

After the race, follow these steps when you get home (or to your hotel).

  • Continue to drink water, sports drinks and other liquids.
  • Move around periodically to remain loose.
  • In addition to carbs, your post-race meal should be high in protein to help your muscles rebuild and recover. Consider eating a steak, potato and vegetables or chicken and vegetables over rice.
  • Avoid bathing in hot water after the race. Stick to a lukewarm bath or cold shower.
  • Will alcohol be part of your post-race celebration? You must eat a proper meal and adequately hydrate your body before picking up the beer, champagne or margarita!
  • Sleep and nap as much as possible after the race. Rest is vital to allowing the body to repair itself. 

The Weeks After The Race

Keep in mind the following advice for the weeks following your marathon.

  • If you feel well enough, take a short, slow run of about one to two miles the day after the marathon. This will help in muscle stretching and recovery.
  • For the week after the race, avoid eating those energy bars and gels that helped you through training. Treat yourself to sit down meals, complete with fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Learn from your experience. Take note of what works for you and plan ahead so that you can improve your performance in future races.
  • Avoid competitive long-distance races for at least two weeks after the marathon.

Managing Aches And Pains

Aches and pains are common post-race ailments. Learn how to handle them properly and when to seek professional attention.

  • Apply ice to relieve pain in joints or soft tissues.
  • If pain continues, take the recommended dosage of a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) at least six hours after the race.
  • Consider scheduling a sports massage for the week following the race.
  • If you continue to experience pain and/or stiffness for more than a week after the race, contact your doctor or a sports medicine specialist for a medical evaluation.

Visit UPMC Sports Medicine’s marathon-running website for tips on marathon training, preparation and recovery. For additional training tips and other information about UPMC Sports Medicine’s involvement in the Pittsburgh Marathon, as well as real-time updates from the medical tent on race day, follow UPMC Sports Medicine on Twitter.

As medical sponsor of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, UPMC Sports Medicine provides free training seminars for marathon participants, as well as medical support along the race course and at the start and finish lines. With UPMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, UPMC Sports Medicine will assemble a team of medical volunteers from UPMC, other local hospitals, the City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and other local EMS departments to provide medical care to the thousands of runners on race day. UPMC is the official medical provider for the event, as it has been since the first Pittsburgh Marathon in 1985.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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