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After the Race Comes Marathon Recovery

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Many of the 50,000 runners who descended on New York City this weekend to take a stab at the 26.2-mile NYC marathon are probably feeling a combination of pride and pain today.

Mary Keitany took first place and won her second consecutive New York City marathon, finishing in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 25 seconds. This is the first consecutive win in New York since 2008.

Stanley Biwott of Kenya won this year's men's race with a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 34 seconds.

Former tennis player James Blake hit his goal of completing the race in under 4 hours and joked, "Never again."

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So how should they go about recovering?

Don't race out to get a massage. Wait at least two hours after a marathon to stretch and 24 hours for a massage, advises Runner's World. This way, you give your body and your muscles plenty of time to recover and replenish its fluids.

Soak in cold water. Avoid hot baths for 48 hours after the race. Instead, fill your tub with cold water and a bit of ice and dip your legs in. The cold water will help with soft tissue inflammation and overall soreness, says Runner's World.

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Take a breather. Resting after a marathon is as important as training for it. Runner's World suggests taking three to seven days completely off after a marathon. According to the New York Times' Well blog, it takes about a week for muscles to stop hurting and for their full strength to return.

After rest, get moving. After resting for a few days, get your circulation moving again with low-intensity exercise, suggests Runner's World. Good circulation delivers fresh oxygen to your muscles and carries away waste, which aids the recovery process. Low-intensity exercise may include walking, swimming or riding a bike.

Reverse taper. Once you start running again, gradually build up with runs that at first last no longer than 60 minutes, advises Maria Urso, a research physiologist at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in the Well blog.

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