Tips for recovery following the half-marathon
Tips for recovery after the SMH ½ Marathon
With the SMH ½ marathon this Sunday we thought it would be perfect timing to look at recovery
From the moment you cross the finish line the most critical period for avoiding injury and illness using correct recovery strategies begins…………
- Cool Down and Stretch
Keep moving at a low intensity for 10-15 minutes after exercise and then stretch out through the major muscle groups in your back, hips and legs.
After exercise you will often feel cold as your body continues to cool-down, make sure you have adequate clothing to layer up and keep warm.
- Replace Fluids
During an endurance event like a ½ marathon you will loose fluid even if you drink some fluid along the way.
Water or Sports drinks are both appropriate fluids to consume post exercise. Avoid caffeinated / alcoholic drinks.
It is possible though rare to overhydrate post exercise, coupled with low sodium this can cause a serious medical condition called hyponatremia. As a rule never consume more fluid then weight lost during exercise and make sure you eat a small amount of food as well to replenish sodium.
- Compression garments
Wear immediately after for up to 48 hours post exercise.
Gradient compression garments have been found to have many benefits both during and post exercise. Specifically in relation to post exercise recovery they have been found to increase venous return, reduce exercise induced muscle damage EIMD, accelerate recovery processes and accelerate lactic acid removal.
Consumption of carbohydrates and protein post exercise is an essential part of muscle recovery.
Carbohydrates replenish your muscles depleted glycogen stores and protein assists muscle repair.
- Cold Water Therapy (Cryotherapy)
Ideally within 24 hours of completing the exercise, cryotherapy has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery. If you’re not an elite athlete with access to ice baths, wading through the ocean or a non-heated pool are ideal methods.
- Active Recovery
Gentle exercise rather that complete rest has been found to increase muscle recovery and reduce muscle lactate. Aim for no more than 2 easy runs and gently cross-training for the week following the ½ marathon
It’s also important to allow your body time to recover, so make sure you reduce your normal training and take it easy for the entire week.
- Soft Tissue Massage
Massage improves circulation and decreases muscle tension post exercise. If you have a foam roller you can self-massage through your legs for free!
Adequate sleep the night following will aid muscle recovery. During sleep your body produces Growth Hormone (GH), which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.