One mistake many new runners make when training for a marathon is cramming too much intensity and mileage in without taking a pause. This can lead to an injury before the actual race, causing them to hang up their bibs without a finisher’s medal to match. Even with time constraints, recovery is as essential as any part of training and here are some tips to help speed it up.
Vary your run difficulty
You might be tempted to go full speed during your supposed easy runs especially if you want to combine two or three days worth of training. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. Shorter or easy runs train your body to adapt to more intense sessions and ensure that you don’t struggle to keep up with your target pace during a long run.
Refuel and rehydrate
There is a 30-minute window for eating post-run that can impact how the rest of your race training goes. Very Well Fit explains that this is a period when muscles recuperate to avoid repetitive stress injuries. Failure to properly refuel with carbohydrates and protein, as well as replenishing the body with electrolytes, might contribute to muscle breakdown, dehydration, and cause acute pain that can seriously dampen your tight schedule.
Rehabilitate with yoga
Stretching before a run to prevent injury has been debunked as a myth a long time ago. <a href="https://www.runnersworld.com/start-running/should-i-stretch-before-or-after-my-runs">Runner's World revealed that it is actually safer</a> and more appropriate to stretch after training. A gentle yoga practice can be the perfect way to cool down after a run because it eases the tightness in the major muscle groups. A little more openness in the hips also goes a long way on the road to a marathon.
Loosen up with a massage
Deep tissue massages are best after a long run and before a recovery run because they can feel like a workout on their own. Foxy Bingo notes that getting therapeutic massages are a good way to mitigate tension. Relieving pressure points can improve blood flow to the muscles and improve range of motion. The physical relaxation you get eases your mind too, which is great because releasing pressuring thoughts is important when preparing for the big day.
Take a dip in an Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt baths are used to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, especially after a good hard run. Live Strong states that this is due to magnesium typically present in the substance which is vital for preventing leg cramps. Simply sit in a mixture of four cups of Epsom salt with one cup of baking soda in hot water for 10-20 minutes. It’s best to take a salt bath an hour or two before you go to bed.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is the cheapest form of recovery which has the most significant influence on your performance, aside from your training. Deep restorative sleep activates the body’s ability to rebuild and repair tissues that may have been strained during your preparation days. Without adequate sleep, the body will experience chronic fatigue which you definitely don’t want come race day.
Schedule active recovery days
Rest days are for lounging around your flat with nothing planned at all while active recovery days mean getting the blood flowing with an easy or moderate exercise. Many tend to favour the first for the latter, but both are important before a big race. Mbition previously explained how they help reduce residual fatigue in the muscles and sets you up for better performance. Active recovery days also help the body get more used to being on your toes and ensure that the level of your activity doesn’t fluctuate drastically.
With these tips, you’re well on your way to achieving a personal best. Happy recovery and see you on the road!