The race is over, but the pain has just begun. What do you do? How can you recover from a marathon? Don't panic. Here are five effective recovery tips that you can adopt to kick-start your body's post marathon recovery.
It's an all too familiar feeling the need to collapse and never move another inch right after crossing the finish line. "I'm so done," repeats your brain. No, don't be. Fight that thought.
As Jenny Hadfield, a certified personal trainer rightly said, your muscles need a transitionary phase. Think coming to a gradual stop instead of slamming the brakes. This allows circulation to return to its resting state and flushes the lactic acid from your muscles. Try walking for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Remember, an overworked runner is a mediocre runner.
Getting a Leg Up
... or 2 legs, rather. After a marathon, your body needs to relax and facilitate blood flow. Find a spot to lay down have someone keep an eye on you if you're not feeling too good and prop your legs up onto an elevated support. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes, and repeat this several more times later in the day.
You know that feeling you get right after the race when you just want to guzzle bottle after bottle of isotonic drinks? A big meal is almost always the last thing on your mind. That's because it is supposed to be. It is recommended to have something light 30 to 60 minutes post-race, such as a small snack bar. Your priority is to absorb about 200 to 300 easily-digestible calories from carbohydrates and protein to sustain your blood sugar levels, renew muscle glycogen, and repair muscle tissue. Other recommended food includes sandwiches, carrots and almond butter. Save that big meal when your appetite returns later in the day, so it feels like a proper reward.
In sunny Singapore, this is almost a welcome notion. Forget the heater just for today; jump in the shower, tap turned all the way to the blue and let the cold water relieve you from that nasty bodily heat. 5 to 10 minutes of soaking in cold water aids in decreasing inflammation in your legs and accelerates the rate of healing.
Tender Loving Care
As time progresses, your post-marathon aches should be subsiding, but those muscles you worked still require a gentle massage to further enhance their recovery, be it with your own two hands, or a nifty gadget. As long as those muscles stay loose, they will be well on track back to perfect conditions.
Remember, an overworked runner is a mediocre runner. Taking the time and effort to facilitate muscle recovery is as important as training. When you are done resting, it's time to work your way back into training mode and strive to better yourself, bit by bit.
That marathon you did could have been your maiden run, or perhaps you're already a seasoned veteran. You could be a tortoise, or you could be a hare, but don't rest on your laurels.
Keep on going.
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