Training? Make your recovery plans.
Marathon training plans for fall races are quickly approaching. As you start thinking about what your training plans will look like, be sure to plan your recovery.
"Plan recovery"?! Yup, if you want to reach your race(s) healthy and get the most out of your training, taking your recovery serious will help you do it. Here's some tips to consider...
Spread out your "effort" days
The activities where you work a little harder. Your body needs time to adapt and process the stress you've put on it. Instead of running hard workouts back to back switch one of the runs to an easy effort or use the day for another activity requiring less effort like yoga.
Following a run or race it's best to cool down.
It's the same idea as a warm up in reverse. The warm up prepares your body for the rigorous activity you're about to engage in, while the cool down gradually brings your heart rate and body back to a resting state.
Take 10-15 min to slow jog or walk. Then spend 10-20 min stretching and foam rolling. For hard effort days, consider taking a cold water bath for 10-15 min to help reduce swelling.
Stopping your workout abruptly without a proper cool down can cause blood to "pool" instead of returning to the heart or brain. It also increases muscle soreness and makes your body more prone to injury.
Plan to eat and drink within 30 min of activity.
How much to eat and drink largely depends on the length of activity, what your body lost, and what you can stomach.
Hydrating should be one of the first things done immediately following a workout. If you run for less than an hour, plain water will suffice, but if your workout lasted longer than an hour you will likely need a bit extra. At least half of your fluids should come from electrolyte-enhanced drinks.
In regards to food, having a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein within 15-20 min has proven to be the best for muscle repair and recovery. If you're a person that can't stomach solid food immediately after a run, drinking chocolate milk can help as it's packed with the 3:1 ratio you're looking for. A regular mixed meal high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium is recommended within 3 hrs of activity.
Adopting these tips will surely help you feel better as you go through your training cycle, lead to increased results, and support you getting to the starting line healthier.