It’s racing season!
You’re training long and hard to compete in your marathon and don’t forget the importance of planning recovery, rest and relaxation. For some, taking time off is the most difficult part, but it is essential to avoid injuries and prepare for the next race. But what does “recovery, rest and relaxation” actually refer to, and how does one go about it? It is easy to forget about this part. Not all methods of recovery are equal, and finding the best method for you is just as important to your health as your training regimen.
Why take time to recover?
Running 26.2 miles is hard on your body. Neglecting its needs by not taking adequate time off can easily lead to overtraining and a host of injuries. Muscle soreness and fatigue, cellular damage, and even immune system suppression are just the beginning, and they have the potential to keep you off the track for far longer than a recovery routine. Out of respect for your bones and muscles, give ‘em a break!
How long does it take?
The important rule is to listen to your body. A common timeframe to rest after a marathon is two to three weeks to bring your muscles back to maximum capacity, but be conscious and respectful of your own needs. Any training time lost will be far more beneficial in the long-term.
What should I do?
Directly following your race, be sure to cover up so that your muscles don’t cool down too fast. As soon as you’re able, try to eat a piece of fruit or other carbohydrate and stretch. In the days and weeks following, you have a lot of options for capitalizing on your rest time.
- Get a massage
Perhaps one of the most well-known and common forms of relaxation, the benefits of clinical massage are endless. Ease inflammation, improve circulation, and manage chronic pain among other benefits. If you want to be rejuvenated and feel immediate results, here is your chance!
- Try PEMF for aches and pains
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) is a non-invasive, alternative way to stimulate cellular repair and bone strength. In a simple process, a rubber loop is placed against the affected area. It is then electrically stimulated to decrease inflammation as well as ease pain due to soreness and knots.
- Take Contrast Baths
Alternate hot and ice water on your lower body for five minutes at a time, three times. The change in temperatures will encourage your blood to flow in and out of your fatigued muscles, which will speed up recovery.
You worked tirelessly to make it to and through your race, and the last thing you want to do is throw it away by neglecting your recovery regimen. If you want to keep your muscles at their peak performance, break personal records, and avoid debilitating injuries, now is the time to plan your recovery schedule and take good care of your body.