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Take a Hiatus from Running

Taking a hiatus from running can seem tough but it might be the best thing you can do for yourself, writes Nandini Reddy. 

Runners tend to get consumed by their passion. The frustration from not reaching peak performance can cause a runner to train in an extreme manner that might lead to injury. Instead if you ever feel that you are slipping then it might make more sense to take a break from running. While this suggestion might sound counter-intuitive to a runner in training, it is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking a break from running.

When should you take a break? – Once racing season is done, plan at least a 4 week break. Your body needs to rest from the constant pounding it has received during the marathons. Also there is less guilt about missing a big race. Pick you racing season for the year and once it wraps up, ensure that you put away your running shoes. It is also a good idea to take a break when running becomes too monotonous for you. Running without enthusiasm won’t lift your spirits and the break will do more good for your mood than running would at that time.

How long should your hiatus last? – Remember that muscles tend to recover during the break period. You can stay fit by doing other activities like strength training and yoga which are beneficial to build muscle strength. Ensure you take a minimum of 4 weeks off. You can extend this to more if required but don’t reduce the amount to lesser than 3 weeks if you want to enjoy the full benefits of recovery.

Most runners feel that a break from training means they will run lesser miles or that it will affect their pace. But in reality a run after a period of recovery is stronger than one where there is no proper recovery for the body. A few of the benefits of taking a hiatus include:

  1. Injuries can be dealt with and given the right amount of rest and treatment
  2. It can cure a runners burnout
  3. Mentally you will be recharged and more excited to run again
  4. It will help you refocus your goals.
  5. Work out a training plan based on experience and with a clear mind

Once you are back in training, don’t stress on pace and mileage immediately. Build up to it and you will notice that you can reach your goals faster and with less fatigue.

By no means am I suggesting that taking a break would be a joyful experience for a runner, but if you want to keep running strong for many years then it is inevitable. When you take a break you come back with a stronger performance, a more fit body and higher enthusiasm.

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.

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Recovery after a Marathon

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.

Move Around

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.

Cross Train

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.

Read more