Usually, race day results reflect the quality and quantity of training. But in the case of the marathon – that 26.2-mile bucket list feat – little things on race day can make all the difference. Whether it's too much Gatorade causing cramps, a new shirt chafing so much that it draws blood, or a pasta primavera that's still sitting with you at mile 13, little mistakes are exaggerated in such a long race – and they can ruin everything. To get it right on race day, follow this tried-and-true advice.
When it's over, give yourself 26 days to recover.
Right away: Get food in you. After a marathon, there is really no cool down. The next day, a walk is good. Or a run if you feel up to it. A walk is probably best for most. A good rule of thumb: For every mile you race, you need a day of recovery. So 26 days until you're back into formal harder training. There are always underlying issues in a marathon, but these don't usually come up until a few days later.
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