5 Things You Need After a Marathon

It's so good when you have someone else there to help you figure all this stuff out!Hooray! You just completed a marathon!  No matter if it was your first, fifth or fiftieth, there are some things that never change.  If you worked hard, your legs will feel like they’re made of rubber and need a good rest. But that’s not all you’ll need.

I’m 5 days from finishing my most recent marathon and I can tell you I was surprised by the things I didn’t really consider before the race, but afterwards discovered that I really needed them after pounding 26.2 miles of pavement!

1. You need a friend!  Whether it’s your mom, your husband, your coach or even just a really nice volunteer, you need someone there for you at the end.  Racing a marathon takes a lot out of your body, and it’s important to make sure you get out of the chute and have somewhere safe to rest.  You may not be in a position to ensure your own safety, so it’s crucial that someone else is on call to take the reins in case, like me, you’re prone to wandering aimlessly and tearfully after the marathon is over.  My friend Julia was an absolute angel after my last big race!

2. You need a place to lie down.  A patch of grass will do, but you’re gonna want to get off your feet at some point.  And when the need hits you, even the pavement will seem like the squishiest, comfiest bed compared to standing or taking another step.

3. You need a snack…but not just any snack! I always have fierce cravings after a big race.  Usually it’s oranges, so this time I made sure to pack a couple into my gear bag, so I could have them right at the end.  I don’t eat much candy, but on a whim I also packed a little bag of peanut M&Ms, and I was so excited to find them after the race. OH MY GOD they were so good!

But don’t forget to eat something substantial too!  After my last marathon my sweet friend Julia (pictured above) tried so hard to make me eat, but the only thing I really wanted was an Arnold Palmer and a Sprite.  Even so, she was right to put a plate of fries in front of me!  The salt and the carbohydrates did me good and helped me make the trip home.

4. You need ramps.  At some point you’ll have to keep moving, and before long you will encounter the need to take a step up or down–especially watch out on the way down!  The stairs are not your friends. Best practice is to employ the aid of whoever is helping you along.

5. You need a handicapped bathroom. Seriously, those railings are a godsend when you have rubberlegs!

How about you? What else do you need after a marathon?

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. By day she's a camera assistant for films and tv in New York, and by night she's on a quest for zen in the 10k. Her writing is a mix of satirical humor, finding wholeness as an average runner, cheering for runners at all paces and more.

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  1. The first thing I want/need is clothes. Just about every marathon I’ve run, I get so cold after I finish I just want to bundle up. The second thing I have is flip flops because my feet want to be out of shoes and socks and breathe.The third is a nap which helps the post race lack of hunger because I wake up hungry and ready to eat.

  2. The warm ponchos they give out at the end of the NYC marathon are a lifesaver. As soon as my stomach recovered a tiny bit, I wanted a great big burger!

  3. Re #1:
    One of my favorite memories is crossing the finish line of my PR marathon directly into the arms of the race director and my mom. I was a few minutes off my goal and my mom had gotten anxious and started pushing the temporary fence and slipped into the finishers’ area just in time.

  4. #1 #1!
    I also always want to celebrate finishing the race, and it’s so nice to have someone else recognize all the hard work that went into the achievement.