Even on your best race day—you know, where you beat your personal record, see friends cheering for you on the route, and are spared the dreaded leg chafing—finishing a marathon comes with a complicated mix of feelings. You’re proud and triumphant, of course, but also totally wiped out and wondering how after all those months of training, it could be over so fast.
So here’s what I suggest: After a marathon, *treat yourself*. Indulging in a luxurious spa treatment a day or two after you cross the finish line can help your legs bounce back faster (massage can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine), but it also gives you the chance to hold on to that post-race bliss a little longer. There’s nothing like a little downtime on a massage table to help you pause and reflect on all those good race-day vibes.
These amazing massages and other super-luxe experiences are tailor-made for tired legs. Each is located in a spa near one of the top destination marathons in the US or Europe.
After the Boston Marathon, head to…
The spa at the Mandarin Oriental
Celebrate your finish of the iconic Beantown race (this year marks the 122nd run!) with the 80-minute Marathon Boost package at this five-star spa, conveniently located just a skip away from the finish line and Boston Common. The full-body massage targets tired legs and feet and, bonus, includes body buffing to exfoliate the skin and flush lactic acid from your overworked muscles. Fragrant essential oils and a de-stressing gel made with rosemary, black pepper, lavender, and ginger will leave you totally relaxed.
$200 on weekdays, $220 on weekends
After the London Marathon, head to…
Ask for the Agua Advanced Bodywork treatment at this glam rock-and-retro inspired spa for a super-relaxing, rejuvenating combo of sports therapy, trigger point, deep-tissue, and myofascial massage techniques. Additionally, heated basalt stones can be added to warm up and work out tight spots in muscles. Definitely add on the silica mud mask to help relax your body ahead of time so you can get the most out of your massage. Marathon runners get 15-percent off spa treatments.
From $90 for 35 minutes
After the Paris Marathon, head to…
A crazy-luxe destination après-race day, the Saint James Paris is a19th-century chateau with an opulent yet totally modern vibe, just a short walk from the Champs-Elysées and Eiffel Tower. Head downstairs to the spa for the Body Suppleness & Harmony Ritual by Guerlain. The treatment helps unwind and lengthen tight muscles, loosen stiff joints, and moisturizes and oxygenates skin. Spend the rest of your time in the City of Lights feeling light as air.
After the Marine Corps Marathon, head to…
The Kimpton Lorien Hotel and Spa
The People’s Marathon, as it’s so called in the nation’s capital, starts and ends in northern Virginia. Afterward, head to this hotel in nearby Alexandria for the uber-popular, luxe Frangipani Body Ritual. The three-step treatment includes full body exfoliation with a mineral-rich salt scrub, a massage with Tahitian monoi oil and frangipani flowers to unwind muscles, and a relaxing wrap in mood-boosting, aromatic oils. It’s like a cocoon of silkiness to nix all stress from your muscles (and your mind).
$250 for 100 minutes
After the New York City Marathon, head to…
Once you cross the finish line in Central Park, head downtown to this NoHo spa for its Aromatic Hot Towel Infusion massage. This Swedish massage takes the warming, soothing power of hot stones and delivers it through towels soaked in organic essences (choose from calendula-lavender or lemon-lemongrass) to soften skin simultaneously. The heat loosens muscles and tissues tight from race day, while aromatic oils help you unwind. And what’s more, your massage comes with a two-hour pass to the water lounge where you can give your legs a little extra R&R. Go from the chakra-light steam room (with eucalyptus-scented steam) to a dip in the cold-plunge pool to promote circulation and finish with a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi.
$150 for 60 minutes; $210 for 90
After the Berlin Marathon, head to…
The Berlin outpost of this London-based spa, located inside the city’s SoHo House, is the place to go after you finish the German capital’s marathon. Try the Slender Cow Legs treatment—the three-step process, a must for exhausted legs, includes body brushing, exfoliation, and lymphatic massage to help detoxify tired, overworked muscles. Soak up good vibes and the award-winning body products crafted with mood-boosting essential oils and organic plant extracts.
After the Napa Valley Marathon, head to…
As if soaking up 26.2 miles of gorgeous wine-country views weren’t blissful enough, extend your post-race euphoria with a visit to this gorgeous Provence-inspired resort nestled in the heart of Napa Valley. Feel totally Zen in the spa (open only to hotel guests), which is flanked by a picturesque courtyard of olive trees. Opt for the athlete-favorite Arnica Sports Therapy massage to recharge after race day—it includes vigorous pressure, stretching, and deep-tissue techniques to leave you saying ahh. (A glass of local pinot helps, too.)
Treatments from $220; rooms from $825
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