How To Recover After Running A Marathon
What are some of the key strategies to use before and after running a marathon?
I get asked that quite often from runners and especially people in the military.
I have been on active duty for over 12 years and have had this question asked to me numerous times over the years.
My answer is usually the same every time.
Focus only on the areas of your training you have control of. No wasted energy, physically or mentally, period.
You cannot do anything about the weather on the day of a race.
In addition, once a workout or race is done, whether good or bad, it is the past.
You have to let it go, especially if it was a bad experience. Focus on what you learned from the race or workout itself, there is always positives regardless how negative it, at the time, feels like.
Don’t ever let a bad experience get the best of you. Remember, the world’s greatest successes were born out of failure and every successful person has had to experience it.
The reason why I relate so well to all of you is because prior to running my own personal bests I had to deal with some seriously heartbreaking feelings.
I knew what I had to do and was willing to endure until I achieved my goals. You have to do the same.
No matter what it is you want to achieve, expect the journey to challenge you but also keep your confidence at all times.
You will reach your destination. There is a Scripture in the Bible where a blind man came yelling to Christ to heal him (he was blind).
Christ’s response was , ‘Go, your faith has healed you’. I have a verse tattooed on my arm (Mark 10:27) which is a reminder to you as it is to me that Christ said.
If you can? With man this is impossible, not with God, all things are possible with God
What are 20 things to do before and after running a marathon?
1. Do not get caught up with thinking you have to run 26.2 miles in training to race or finish the distance.
You can extend your long run out to 16 miles and be fine.
It is very hard to train for the last 6 miles of the race. How you train (quality vs. quantity) will define how successful you are.
2. Allow yourself some down time after running a marathon. There is enormous physiological trauma that occurs to the body on a microscopic level after racing the marathon distance.
Getting a massage afterward is also a great remedy along with ultrasound therapy to help break up the scar tissue deep within the muscle fibers that hard racing creates.
3. Take a few ice baths the couple days after the marathon. This will help speed up the recovery process helping to flush out toxins and bring oxygen rich blood to very fatigued legs
4. Don’t get bent out of shape mentally before or after running a marathon. You have to always remind yourself that you are in control of your thoughts.
Never entertain any negative thoughts. If you catch yourself doing it immediately and consciously think of a positive time in your life.
You are always in control of how you think. Take the initiative to focus on the positives.
5. Use race pace tactics in your training. Not only will you be better prepared to handle the goal pace you have in mind but you will be less intimidated by anything your competition throws your way.
Remember there is trained and then there is untrained.
You gain so much confidence and lessen mental worry by undeniably knowing how hard you have trained that there simply is no other choice but to succeed.
6. Stay motivated. Expect some challenges before the marathon. The majority of us work full-time jobs and have to time manage.
I have had the luxury of being a full-time athlete in the past. It was wonderful but surprisingly I didn’t run my fastest marathon during that time period.
I did while working full-time and training on my own in my spare time before and after work.
You’ll find, if you haven’t already, you’ll run your best when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice but to make the choice to time manage.
I work in a hospital now and have to be at work before 7am.
This means for me to be fully prepared to tack action on bettering my marathon personal best in 2014 is going to entail waking up before 5am to train.
That being said, I am about as far away of a morning person as it gets. This will take patience on my part and focus to not fall asleep at work!
7. Take your nutrition seriously. It would be a complete joke to believe that all you have to do is run quality mileage and take easy days easy to achieve before and after running a marathon.
The truth is nutrition is about as important as the training itself.
I can bet you if you asked your friends and competitors what it is they wouldn’t have a clue. Dr. Mehmet Oz, star of the Dr. Oz show, calls it the ‘superhero of all antioxidants’.
Your body naturally creates it but you never truly know you are running low on it until it is too late. If you ever feel increasingly fatigued your body could be running low on it.
I never knew I was anemic until I was crawling just to finish workouts and barely able to finish races.
It was the importance of taking my nutritional needs more seriously and helping others do the same. I learned my lesson well having been diagnosed with anemia back in 2007.
I don’t want to see you or anyone else deal with feeling run down and fatigued.
One of the best things you can do before and after running a marathon is find ways of supplementing your training in ways your competition is not.
8. Hydrate well. A 1% loss of hydration can create up to a 5% decrease in athletic performance.
That is a major drawback if you love soda’s or other forms of caffeine which can easily dehydrate you.
Keep this in mind before and after running a marathon and you will be set up for success
9. Sit your fluids out every 3 to 4 miles during your long run. Simple, effective and gets the job done before the marathon attempt.
Practicing fluid intake in training will better guard you from denying yourself proper fluid intake in the race.
There are so many that don’t take fueling as seriously as they should.
The marathon is one of the distances where skipping your fluids can cost an enormous price later on in the race.
I’ve payed that price many times over the years and only write this because I know damn well how important it is to take this one seriously.
10. Don’t be under the delusion that you have to experience any form of “wall” in the marathon.
One of the reasons runners deal with the wall is not having trained in such a way to conserve their carbohydrates storage.
We only have about 1800 calories stored as glycogen within the liver at any given time and when do most runners hit the wall?
Anywhere from mile 16 to mile 18, burning 100 calories per mile, this adds up to just about the time athletes begin to slow.
You don’t have to deal with this if you train properly.
Fortunately for me, when I ran 2.19 for the marathon, I didn’t experience any form of wall.
It was a surreal feeling when you can compete all the way to the finish line without running out of sugar. Train differently and you won’t, I promise you.
Of course, I was hurting by mile 23 but because I trained at faster speeds in my long runs on top of the speed sessions I did, there was no wall I had to deal with.
Running faster deepens your ability to use fat as it’s main fuel source at race speeds and conserve what it has much less of, carbohydrates.
I’ve said it many times here and will continue to preach this. Train properly in practice and you will not slow in races but continue on with a sprint finish.
The faster you run the more carbohydrates you use.
The trick is training in such a way that you begin to burn fat, rather then sugars, and that my friends is a major training secret.