If you have just finished a marathon this weekend then you should be focusing on how to recover your body before embarking on your next training session, writes Nandini Reddy.
Soreness after running any marathon is unavoidable and it can last from one to three days and sometimes even a week depending on how experienced a marathoner you are. There are several steps that you can take to ease your discomfort and head to a faster recovery.
As opposed to the popular belief that you need to stretch to relive your muscles after a marathon, most coaches advice that you move around at a slow pace. This sort of movement prevents injury and also relieves swelling of any kind. It is a form of active recovery and is considered to be more beneficial
Elevate your legs
Try and keep you legs elevated to avoid blood pooling. The simplest way is to prop up a few pillows below your feet. If not you can also lie at a 90 degree angle against the wall with your legs propped up. This is a position that even elite marathoners swear by. This should be repeated for the whole week after the race for about 10 – 15 minutes a day.
Cold shower or ice bath
If you are up for it an ice bath or a cold shower will certainly help relieve niggling muscle aches. It is a bit tough to do but it prevents blood pooling in the legs and also relieves sore muscles. This is purely based on the fact that you can withstand something that cold.
Stay off the booze
One celebratory drink is alright but too much alcohol into a body that is already recovering is not a good idea. At least for a week after your marathon try and ease off on the drinking so that your body can recover faster.
Massage and stretches
Get a massage or do your stretches preferably from the day after or even later if you have severe soreness. Don’t rush into stretching your muscles because you might end up causing injuries.
Give it time
Running a marathon is a highly stressful event for your body. Give it the time it needs to recover and consult with your coach before you start training again. Mentally you might feel ready but you need to respect your body and give it the time it needs to recover.
A week after your marathon try and cross train using low impact exercises so that your muscles can heal better and run short distances for about 30 minutes to test the waters. You can always get back to full fledged training once you are completely recovered.
Racing season means running multiple races and that means recovery should be as good as well. Let your body lead you instead of your ambition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.