Recover Rest Relax
Last week and this week it’s all about recovering from running 44kms.
Here are my Unsporty Recovery Tips!
Take a cool dip
Not always easy to do but getting into some cool water as quickly as possible post-marathon will speed up recovery. It cools down those overworked muscles and helps to prevent inflammation. After doing this a few times I’ve been amazed by the results so have become a firm believer in this rather chilly form of recovery. It’s not always easy to get into freezing cold water but from my experience it’s so worth the effort.
Re-Fuel and Re-Hydrate
Marathons use mega calories. At the end of a marathon I never feel like eating but it’s oh so important. What to eat though? I say eat what you feel like: you’ve earnt it! Hydration is a no brainer. All that sweaty running and the body needs to fill back up again. Drink, drink and drink some more. Get that water and those electrolytes into you I tell myself. Ginger beer is my favourite post-marathon hydrator. There is just something about it – cold, fizzy, spicy, sweet. After that it’s the usual assortment of electrolytes, preferably a no-sugar option such as Endura low cal.
Did someone say massage? This is my least favourite recovery practice. I so hate those post-run massages. I’d rather get out my magnesium cream and do it myself than let some muscley, lithe, enthusiastic, young masseuse anywhere near my fatigued, flabby, cellulite encrusted limbs. Ouch is all I can say! But I know many runners believe in this form of sadism and are much braver than me. Getting the blood moving around the muscles in whatever way works though is important!
A few days post marathon and I’m ready for a remedial massage. There’s nothing like getting those kinks smoothed out. A good masseuse will advise if any area needs some extra attention.
Sitting down like a couch potato immediately after a big run can be disastrous; stiffness and soreness will set in quick time. It’s way better to have periods of rest with periods of movement. Swim. Spa. Walk. Keep the blood pumping around the body aids recovery. I’ve learnt this the hard way and found that trying to sleep the night after a marathon when all I’ve done is sit all afternoon means cramps and discomfort.
After Recovery comes Rest.
Everyone has a different idea of post-marathon rest. Usually I’ll go for a 3km run three days post-marathon; a nice go-at-your-own-pace sort of shuffle, nothing too much. Having a whole week off running is ok too. Along with taking it easy on the running front, for a couple of weeks post-marathon it’s ok to cut back on other usual activities. I’ll take a break from the gym and from Running Group, have early nights and generally take some time out from routine exercise.
And if you’re really lucky like I am right now you take a holiday! I’m currently enjoying a couple of weeks in beautiful Western Australia. It may be snowing at home in Tasmania but here it’s sunny and 25°C. I’m staying with brown-eyed daughter #1 and generally blobbing around reading, sleeping, eating and having some blissful walks around and about this lovely part of Australia.
Treating recovery with respect is important for everyone but especially for us old girls and boys over 50. I intend to be at the start line of long distance runs for many years to come so having a proper recovery, rest and relaxation period post-marathon is just as important as the training to be at the start line.
Now to put the Adelaide Marathon plan together!
Happy running 🙂