Finishing a marathon is a best ever sense of achievement leaving you feeling elated, but your body not so much…... Being a distance runner is not easy and running or training for a marathon challenges your physical & mental limits. Every runner has to learn how to take care of their body and avoid injuries to make it over the finish line in one piece, especially if you intend to keep on running throughout the year. Abusing your body and not following the post-run recovery rules can be a great mistake that can injure your body and keep you away from your passion longer term.
Muscle pains are the most common issue arising after your race or training and it’s normal for that pain to increase for three or more days after the run (this is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS). Most runners would think that pain is part and parcel after running long distance and just collapse on the couch and watch TV to help them to recover but there are better ways out there..
What do the experts say?
“Running a marathon is definitely something that is, overall, very taxing on your body when you’re doing it,” said Dr. Malissa J. Wood, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Exercise-Induced muscle damage occurs after rigorous physical activity of long duration. There are many symptoms like pain & inflammation. The worst impacted body part would be the leg muscles which would be tired and can lead to cramping and soreness”.
“Running continuously can cause damage to the muscle fibers and other parts, but many don’t realize that the damage is natural due to continuous workload on those muscle fibers. Initial damage doesn’t affect us much but the inflammatory process which arises after is accompanied by oxidative stress. These oxidative stresses can further worsen the initial damage”.
So what are the best ways to recover your sore muscles after a long race?
Five top tips to recover from sore muscles
1. Drink Lots
Everyone sweats when they perform rigorous running for a long duration and of course you lose the salt and water from your body. When there is less water in the body it reduces the blood volume, which in turn reduces the circulation of blood throughout the body. This can lead to muscle soreness and cramping. Drinking water and energy drinks helps to regain the water and salts.
2. Walk it off
You would expect most runners to sit down after they cross the finish line or complete their training, but to reduce the muscle soreness you should do some slow walking to cool off.
3. Eat well, very well
We feel good when we eat well. One of the best ways to recover from soreness is making sure to have good nutritious meals for 3-4 days after the race. Meals which are rich in protein and carbohydrates should be good enough to repair your muscles.
4. Rest, of course
Resting is always considered a good way to recover from any physical activity, so sleeping well is a great way to recover.
5. Massage it
Massage is great for getting rid of sore muscles, stiffness and reducing DOMS. This can range from using tools like foam rollers or massage sticks, to visiting your local physio or massage therapist to reduce sore calf and leg muscles. New recovery and massage technologies using vibration therapy are now available and these are a really convenient way to get rid of sore muscles. Vibration increases circulation, it also helps to loosen and lengthen muscles to increase flexibility and to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness for better recovery. Products like Myovolt can be used after the race or after run training to relax & loosen up your muscles, helping you recover faster than before.
Get stuck into you training and achieve those marathon goals without the pain… or at least less of it!