It's important to recover after you've run a long race. Advice on getting yourself back in shape from trainer Lucy Wyndham Read
Ex-army fitness trainer Lucy Wyndham Read has advice for making sure your body recovers, but you don't lose your fitness or momentum after running a long race such as a marathon or half-marathon.
1. RECOVER: This is essential. And also fairly easy to obey as your body will feel tired and it is likely that you will feel stiff and also mentally exhausted.
The following 48, even up to 72 hours, after your race, you will get what’s known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness) this is soreness and tightness that you will feel through your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes. This is due to all the hundreds of thousands tiny little micro tears within your muscle fibres. Rest, alongside post recovery stretches, will help to repair your body back to a pre-race and even pre-training state.
For the next 10 days it is good to replace your running with walks; this will help to realign your body and help repair the muscle fibres and reduce the DOMS. Work on stretching your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes, spending longer on all these stretches. 2. REFUEL your body with plenty of carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta, rice & vegetables as this will help refuel your muscles. Make sure you have plenty of protein as this is essential in helping post-muscular recovery and helps repair the muscle fibres (if you are vegetarian sure you eat plenty of beans, legumes and soya). 3. REHYDRATE: It is essential to replace the fluids lost through training. Coconut water eg ZICO is particularly effective, is a great way to ensure you are replacing minerals and promotes rapid hydration. 4. RENEW YOUR FOCUS: Mentally, you have been so focused on your achievements and commitments that sometimes you can feel a little flat and suffer from post-marathon blues. So why not use your 10-day recovery period to start researching a new goal? Remember, it is always recommended to leave at least 16 weeks between one marathon and the next.
If you're looking for a new challenge, why not try something a bit different, like a cross country 10k, or a low impact event such as cycling or swimming? Mixing it up means you maintain your fitness, don't get bored and can be ready for your next running challenge with renewed enthusiasm.
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