Recovery is going to be a word I use pretty often in 2017. I am taking on an epic running challenge, doing 17 marathons over the course of the year (so on average one every three weeks!) in order to raise $17,000 for Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. The first one is an ultra marathon on the Two Bays trail, locked in for 15th January already! Eeek! Even as a running coach with Go Run Australia, this is beyond anything I have ever trained for and is going to push my body to its limits. I am SUPER excited about what is going to be an epic journey full of travel, stories, new connections as well as an enormous physical, mental and logistical challenge.
One of the areas that has got me more worried than most is my physical RECOVERY. In particular, how is my body going to deal with running a marathon every 3 weeks? As the New year approached and my stress levels rose, I decided to meet up with the team at Port Melbourne Physio and Pilates to ask them for their advice on recovery in the hope that their words of wisdom would keep me injury free and running at my best during ‘My 17 Challenge.’
Being honest, my recovery usually involves ice cream, lying on the sofa and the occasional magnesium tablet. So I knew that I had to step up my game if I was going to recover properly in time for my next event. Some of the marathons are only one week apart, so recovery was going to be more important than ever before. As physiotherapists who regularly treat recreational runners with injuries and as recreational runners themselves, who better to chat with about getting my recovery right?!
So, over coffee we explored the main question that I had for them….
If you could force me to do anything in the first 24 hours to help my recovery, what would you get me doing?
- If you are near the beach or cold salt water, get in it! The sooner the better, but preferably within a couple of hours of finishing the run so that you can get started on reducing any inflammation of the muscles or joints and relieving any pain and soreness that you have in your legs. If you don’t have access to the beach, then an Epsom salts bath can do the trick.
- Another option is lying on your back and raising your legs straight up against a wall, leaving there for a few minutes. The idea behind this is to use gravity to improve circulation and to try ‘drain’ the lactic acid and from the legs.
- If you are travelling during that first 24 hours after the end of the marathon, invest in some good compression gear for the plane. Planes can be a nightmare for our bodies in general, but the effect will be worse having just completed a marathon!
- Also think about your nutrition during this first 24 hours. Your body will be crying out for nutrients, so feed it well. Some good fats, protein and magnesium are on the list for sure!
- The following morning, try not to lounge on the sofa or in bed for too long. Recovery is definitely improved by going for a walk and loosening up your tired legs. Try an easy 15 minute walk, followed by a little bit of time on the roller and stretching to loosen things up.
- Don’t get a full-on sports massage straight away after the race. This can be pretty painful as your body and your muscles are still in some distress from the marathon, so either have a light massage soon after, or wait until perhaps the Tuesday for a slightly firmer massage. The same thing goes for running, either Monday afternoon or Tuesday go for a light, easy, short jog to get things ticking over again. Don’t expect to set any new records though!
So, these 6 tips will become my recovery protocol after each marathon.
If you would like to get involved, or follow my progress along the way, check out My 17 Challenge https://17challenge.everydayhero.com/au/17marathonsin2017
Or sign up to get email updates on the home page at http://www.gorun.com.au/
~Chris White, Recreational Running Coach