So you’ve got your medal, now what?
Whether you are veteran racer who just set a new marathon PR, or a new runner who finished training for your first 5k the toughest part of race training may now be upon you….the recovery! As odd as it may sound, sometimes it is more difficult to run less than it is to run more. With races every weekend in the fall, Facebook posts about how many miles your friends have run today, and perfect running weather just around the corner, saying "no" to running more can be challenging.
Recovery can take many different forms. Some runners may benefit from a week or two off without running to recharge your mental and physical well being. Others may not need to take off any time from running, but rather get easy comfortable base mileage in. The important thing is to listen to your body. Studies have shown that immediately following a significant physical effort such as a marathon, our immune systems are more vulnerable, so it is not unusual to get sick the week after a big race. If you feel tired or start to feel that cough coming on, take a day off.
Muscle soreness is a sign of fatigue and can lead to overuse injuries such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis or stress injuries. Easy runs and an emphasis on stretching, such as the hamstring stretch shown below can help reduce tightness, and help prevent injury.
Grab behind your thigh with both hands with your knee bent. Actively straighten knee as far as you can and hold the stretch for 10 seconds...let knee bend back to your starting position and relax. Repeat 10 times.
Finally, while racing is fun, too much of a good thing can be bad. Most elite marathoners only run 1-2 hard races a year. That’s because our bodies need time to bounce back from a maximum effort. Now is a great time to look at the spring schedule and pick a goal race for 2017. It’s OK to run lots of fun short races with your friends this fall, just remember that it’s impossible to PR at all of them! (and it’s ok to take a day off once in awhile!)
If you need more advice regarding your race recovery, please call us at 614-981-1979.
Joe Simko PT
Fit For Life Physical Therapy