Cardiff World Marathon Recovery

So you wake up Monday morning, reflecting on a great day and all the hard work you put in, still on a high after you achieving your first sub 2hrs and are feeling pretty good about it.

In the words of Ron Burgandy…

The alarm goes off, you jump out of bed (not a wise move) and suddenly it feels like a cow has trampled all over your legs. What do you do? Lie back down and read our blog as we are going to provide you with the simple steps of recovery.

If you want to return to optimal performance then listen up good!

Rest and recovery are often overlooked as key components of your training programme. If you are feeling tired, lacking energy, see a decrease in performance, putting on weight or picking up injuries then you need to address your recovery.

Recovery does not make you soft just as much as ignoring injuries does not make you hard-core, it just makes you stupid! Recovery is a sensible approach to optimise longevity and performance with you training or in this case future running events. Techniques can include better hydration, nutrition, heat and ice therapy, stretching, self-myofascial release, sports massage, relaxation and active recovery.

Sleep

Make sleep your number one priority this week. Switch off your cell phone and electronic devices and get a full 8 hours sleep. You have been training for a marathon so your body needs the time to full recover and restore your energy.

If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair, consolidate memory, and release hormones. Sleep is also prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, which again is a key factor in recovery.

Tip: Stop watching rubbish on TV and get yourself to sleep before 11pm as these are the hours that you get your most effective sleep.

Nutrition

I’m pretty sure you have been over eating on carbs and sugary foods to fuel your runs and your body has probably stored more than you have actually burned running (the body stores fat during endurance training it’s pretty smart!).

Your body has been out of balance and you are more than likely suffering with inflammation and are in a very acidic body state. This inflammatory response will potentially result in micro-traumas affecting muscles, connective tissue, joints, and bone.

So for this week I want you to go PRIMAL. Eat plenty of green veg such as broccoli and kale, use sweet potatoes as your main carbs source, eat pineapple and add ginger, garlic and turmeric to your food (both contain anti-inflammatory properties). Use plenty of extra virgin olive oil on your raw salads along with a serving of beans.

As always load up on fish oil but only omega 3 as the EPA/DHA contains anti-inflammatory properties but will also aid with joint recovery, brain function and reducing cortisol levels.

Tip: Avoid processed foods that contain high levels of salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats so pretty much anything that comes with a food label or is served in a fast food restaurant go a week without alcohol!

Water

Check your pee!

This is the easiest way to check your hydration level. This is very important have your race and essential for your recovery. Check the chart and aim for a pale yellow colour.

As you should all know by now drinking at least 8 full glasses of water a day is essential for your health, energy, brain function, RECOVERY and performance. If you are thirsty you are already hydrated!!

Runners (some) are very focused on water intake leading up to and during the race but tend to relax their intake afterwards, it is vitally important to main hydration levels after the event as this will have a big impact on your recovery and how you feel.

Tip: If you don’t like water then make it more refreshing by adding fresh lemon and lime.

Sports Massage

So your back aches, your hips hurt, your knees are sore and your calves and feet hurt, that cow has given you a good going over!

During you training your have been breaking down muscle tissue and the muscle fibres can become tangled and knotted. Also your body likes to lay down trigger points to provide you with better stability.

Why does it do this? Because important muscles like your glutes and core are not firing or activating correctly due to a lack of strength work. You then use your tendons (IT Band), hip flexors and fascia to run which then leads to inadequate performance and recovery.

Deep-tissue massage therapy can help break up and eventually erase knots in the muscle which is essential for recovery. Massage therapy will reduce pain and improve your mobility. It does this by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area. Scar tissue is often associated with ongoing pain and stiffness, so deep-tissue massage can improve these symptoms (Livestrong.com).

Breath & Relax 'Breathing is the keyhole to the nervous system' The nervous system plays a huge role in recovery and through utilising simple breathing techniques you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system (PEACE) which is key to your recovery.

Take 10 minutes of your morning and lie on your back with no distractions. Set the timer and then count for a 3 count as you breath in through your nose, you should be using your belly to breath, and then breath out through the mouth for a 6 count. This will help with both your physical and mental recovery.

You have worked hard so enjoy your downtime this week. If you do not want complete rest then focus on mobility and stretching and some light active recovery on the bike or in the pool. Join a yoga class which will allow for your mind and body to recover.

Get outside for a walk but no running!

Just pay attention to what your body needs.

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