Tips for Long Term Marathon Recovery
You’ve survived a half or full marathon - now it’s time for recovery and maintenance. The purpose of the coming days and weeks is to allow your body to rest and rebuild. Follow these four tips to properly heal your body while maintaining post-race fitness.
#1 Rest your legs
You probably feel like you’ve been through a tornado! When you return home or to your hotel, take a warm shower and then sit down with your legs up for at least 20-30 minutes. This relieves stress by circulating synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints. Inevitably, your legs will feel sore, therefore ice those aching areas for 15-20 minutes per hour as needed.
#2 Stretch your muscles
In the coming hours and days, stretch not only your hamstrings and quadriceps, but also your IT bands, inner thigh, groin, calf muscles and lower back. Remember to combine breathing techniques with your stretching. Inhale while you’re relaxed and exhale as you go into the stretch. Exhaling allows your body to relax and increases your flexibility. Repeat this cycle three times and hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds.
#3 Seek relief therapies
Foam rolling is a great therapeutic remedy that is low cost and high relief. It helps realign muscle fibers and prevents scar tissue from developing during the healing process. Starting with your calf muscles, roll up into the quads, and then the hamstrings. This encourages inflammation to move up from the legs into the body, where it will be naturally removed. Foam rolling along your lower back separates the vertebral disc, resulting in well-deserved relief. For a more effortless approach in a relaxed environment, consider a professional 30-45 minute massage.
#4 Don’t rush back into training
Just because you’re not sore anymore doesn’t mean you’re completely healed. So try not to push yourself too hard too soon. Ease back into activities approximately four days post-race, and only after any soreness has resolved. You should resume training with light low-impact aerobic exercise, such as trail walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, or elliptical training for no more than 30 minutes. Light workouts get your muscles and joints prepared for more activity without over-stressing them. After the first week, return to running, but at a relaxed pace for 30-40 minutes. Listen to your body and walk if you feel any pain or agitation.
For more information on how to enhance your training and implement a successful recovery period, call 936-266-3130.