Marathon season is going strong in Canada, thanks to virtual marathons! Instead of holding a large in-person race, participants can run their marathon at the location of their choosing usually during a set time-frame.

Training for a marathon is a big thing to take on, with lots of small challenges that come up along the way. You should pat yourself on the back as you’re training but you should save the real celebration for once you’ve completed the marathon. Not only do you deserve it but celebrating closes the chapter on this goal and allows you to start thinking about what’s next. Here are just a few ways to celebrate when you’ve finished that marathon.

Post Marathon Recovery
You’ve finished the marathon and now it’s time to recover and take care of your body.

Immediately After:
• Keep moving by walking around for at least 15 minutes to help your muscles recover and prevent your them from knotting up
• Get those electrolytes replenished with a sports drink or water
• Skip the stretching for now as it can do more harm than good

Back at Home:
• You may want to take it easy but don’t sit for too long as it may cause your muscles to freeze up
• Elevate your legs to cut down on stiffness
• Avoid the hot tub and take a lukewarm or cool bath with Epsom salts to relive muscle pain
• Book yourself a massage to take care of those muscles but wait a of couple days as you don’t want to add to the soreness

The Next Week:
• You may feel some post-marathon blues after a race but they typically go away as you recover
• Go for that gentle massage you’ve booked to help with the stiffness and soreness you may be feeling

Share Your Success
Social media allows us to connect with people no matter where we are. This has become more important than ever during the pandemic. During your training, sharing your progress on social media was a great way to stay accountable to your goals. Now that you’ve finished the virtual marathon, you can also share your success virtually! Post some photos on your social channels, do a Facebook or Instagram live or have a video call with your friends and family to celebrate your accomplishments.

Splurge on a nice Dinner
Chances are if you’ve been training for a marathon you’ve probably skipped on the pizza and wings. Now is your time to enjoy some of the food you’ve been avoiding. Eating high-quality protein can rebuild muscle and carbs can help replenish your energy so you’re really only doing your body good! Just don’t go too crazy on the junk food and make sure to go slow. It’s also important to remember that your body needs to rehydrate and alcohol won’t necessarily help.

Celebrate Even If You Didn’t Reach Your Goal
If you didn’t reach your goal, that’s okay! It might not feel that way at first but remember – you’re not alone. It can be hard to imagine because a lot of the images we see on social media or in blogs are of ‘the perfect run’, but not finishing a marathon is common. Pride yourself that you did your best, despite all the challenges this year has brought you. 

The next thing to do is reframe how you see your goal. Focus more on your journey and what it took to get to the point you’re at. There is no perfect race or runner so think about why you started running in the first place and go back to that feeling.

Create Something to Remember the Journey
From graduation to retirement, when we reach a milestone it’s nice to have something to look at that helps us remember that moment. This is the same with completing a virtual marathon. You don’t have to go to the extreme of a ceremony or a plaque but get something that will help remind you of what you’ve accomplished. Frame a photo from the race day or if you have any items from the race like a certificate or a medal, keep it so you can look back and remember what you did.

This year has been particularly tough on everyone and we should look for things to celebrate. Running a virtual marathon is definitely something worth celebrating, regardless of how you finished. It may not be exactly how you imagined it this year but make sure you do something to celebrate this great accomplishment.