IN THE REHAB ZONE

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6 Post-Race “Must Do’s” For The 1/2 and Full Marathon Runner

I ran the Inaugural Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon this past weekend.  Having trained for a full marathon in the past, I took the challenge of 13 miles a bit lightly.  Although the race went fairly well, my various post-race symptoms ranged from soreness through my lower body to an unyielding case of lightheadedness. I was reminded of the six post-race must dos for all marathon runners:

1.  Re-hydrate: This is an obvious one.  What may not be as obvious is that your re-hydration must include mineral replenishment.  Most people think of Calcium and Sodium when we talk of minerals, and although these essential minerals are important, the replenishment of Potassium and Magnesium are more critical.  Look for sports drinks that list Potassium and Magnesium high on their list of replacement minerals.

2. Re-Load The Carbs: Most endurance athletes are familiar with the concept of “Carbo-Loading” prior to long distance races.  What often goes overlooked is the need to replenishing your body with carbohydrates after the race.   During exercise the body breaks down glycogen in the liver into glucose, your body then converts glucose into energy. When the liver stores of glycogen run dry, the athlete may experience the effects of “hitting the wall”. Following a race, your body continues to burn up whatever glycogen it can find.  Replenishing with carbs will replenish the glycogen stores.

3.  Ice Bath : I understand that the immediate desire following a race is to take a nice hot shower.  But remember, all of that running and wear and tear has put your body in a full- on state of inflammation.  Ice baths will help to close off the vasculature, and will help to pump the inflammation and lactic acid out of the soft tissue and into the blood stream. It’s not a whole lot of fun, but your body won’t be as sore and you will be thankful you did it.

4.  Foam Roll: Create a mechanical advantage by using a foam roller to gently roll out the knots, adhesions and scar tissue that may have formed in the hamstrings, IT band, quads and calves. Every runner I work with who owns a foam roller swears by it. You will too.

5.  Double Down on You Multivitamins: I recommend you take a another serving of your daily multivitamin and Omega 3 Fatty Acid (fish oils).  If you took them the morning of the race, take another dose, if you forgot to take them before the race, double down after the race. Your body is depleted of important vitamins, yet needs them more than ever immediately following a race or long run.

6.  Schedule your visit with your trusty Massage Therapist or Active Release Technique Specialist. Long periods of running will result in overactive muscles, and overactive muscles will result in injuries of the Joints as well as the other surrounding muscles.  Muscle work 24-48 hours Post Race is not just a special treat for a job well done, it is often the key to a speedier “Post race recovery.”

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