CONGRATULATIONS, MARATHONERS! – and Tips for Recovery
The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is in the books. Expressions of joy, exhilaration, relief and satisfaction filled the entire City of Chicago, the entire weekend.
The weather conditions were a bit challenging with the rain and windy conditions – but your preparation and dedication to training over the last 19-plus weeks carried the day.
This week brings time to reflect on the journey, and allow the body to recover from the marathon.
In the words of Emil Zatopek (1952 Olympic Gold Medal winner at the 5K, 10K and Marathon distances): “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”
We have experienced transformation in ourselves over the last 19 weeks, throughout the training process. And like our training regimen, in life we need to balance times of increased stress and cutbacks for recovery.
The next few weeks are a time for recovery. Be kind to your body and your spirit this week. For quicker recovery – continue to exercise, but gentle exercise this week. Walking is a great way for tired muscles to repair themselves. In a few days, consider a (gentle) massage to smooth the recovery. (A ‘deep’ massage, within 48-72 hours following the race can delay recovery.)
Increase nutrition and hydration, especially today through Wednesday. Following the race, our bodies need to replenish lost nutrients. While it is not necessary to consume high amounts of calories (as we did before the marathon), it is important to restore glycogen (‘synthesized’ carbohydrates) to our muscles and protein to repair our muscles and provide energy. Increase fluid intake as well. We need to restore fluids and electrolytes depleted on race day and the two to three days after the race are the perfect time to do so. Our bodies will absorb electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein much more efficiently in these early days.
I saw many of you with white residue on your face and body after the race. This evidences loss of sodium, an important electrolyte which needs to be replenished over the first few days after the race. Be sure to add sports drinks to your diet this week to replenish.
I have been asked by many when is it safe, or recommended, to return to running. The urge to run again soon (or the dread of running too soon) needs to be balanced with the need for recovery. Inactivity will prolong muscle soreness and repair. Walking is a great alternative Monday and Tuesday. A walk of 30 – 60 minutes will help relieve muscle soreness. Follow a ‘reverse taper’ as to running. Look back over your training schedule for the last two weeks leading up to the marathon. Reverse the days and mileage of your training program to ease back into running. Run at a very slow, easy pace until you ‘feel your legs’ again. This may take several days or a few weeks.
You may also experience soreness walking down stairs. If this happens to you, turn around and walk down the stairs backwards. Your quads and hamstrings will say “thank you”.
Be cognizant of a condition called “DOMS”, which is an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a condition whereby deep muscle and tissue damage (like marathoners experience on race day) exhibit themselves in more pronounced soreness 24 – 48 hours after exercise. Your muscles may feel more fatigued Tuesday than they felt Sunday or Monday. This is common for athletes, especially for marathoners.
Sitting in a tub of cool water (not necessarily ice water) will help relieve muscle inflammation and dissipate soreness.
This week is a great opportunity to reflect on your accomplishment of completing the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and recognizing the person you have become over the last 19 weeks of training.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.
““Good form will carry you through”®