Monthly Archives: March 2016

5 Keys to Marathon Recovery

Figuring out the best path to a complete marathon recovery is challenging.  Your body is torn up.  Your mind is fried.  Getting up and moving, let alone taking a lap around the track, is the last thing you’re looking forward to. but how you recover can have a huge impact on when marathon recoveryyou’re ready to start training again.  Here are five ways to make sure your marathon recovery helps you get back to business as soon as you want.

Keep moving.  One of the most important aspects of marathon recovery is movement.  This doesn’t mean a tough track workout two days later or taking off for another race.  Giving muscles some easy work to do the day after beating then up has been shown to help speed recovery but it has to be just that, easy.  A very slow jog, air squats, a few push-ups, sit-ups and 30 minutes of yoga works wonders.

Mobilize.  Just getting out there are easy jogging a mile or two won’t get the job done.  You need to work tired and abused joints through a full range of motion to keep fluids moving around.  This is how you make sure muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones get the blood, oxygen and nutrients they need to repair while clearing out the debris from when they got damaged.  Foam rollers, bands, softballs and a lacrosse ball are all part of a well built marathon recovery kit.

Eat up.  You definitely burned a ton of calories covering all of those miles.  Replacing them and giving your body the nutrients it needs to repair damaged muscles is paramount.  Replenish fluids with sports drinks or salted water as soon as you cross the finish line.  When your tummy is ready, chow down on calorie loaded like bananas and yogurt.  Put your feet up and rest a bit until you’ve processed those and can head for pizza and ice cream.marathon recovery

Sleep.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help you recover faster than just about anything else.  It can be tough to shut down after a big race so try taking a warm bath, meditating and turning off all electronic devices.  Here’s a great piece on how a solid night’s shut eye can make a big difference in your marathon recovery.

Go easy on the celebration.  Yes, those free beers taste delicious but they’re just going to cause more trouble for your already hostile body.  Dehydrated muscles aren’t aching to lose more water.  Even though there are carbs in there, make sure you mix in plenty of other fluids with those post race party beers.  A long walk or standing around for a little bit won’t do any harm but you do want to get off your feet for a few hours as soon as you can to start the healing process.

If there are other marathon recovery traditions you swear by, like ice baths and massages, stick with them.  Just make sure you don’t neglect these key elements of getting your body ready to go back to work.

Coach Meredith

5 Reasons to Try Trail Running

As spring gets closer so do many goal races.  After a tough winter training cycle and a hard race effort, ease back into summer base building with trail running.  Here are five good reasons to hit the dirt this spring, summer and fall.

Weather.  Warm weather can put a real damper on your desire to go out for a sweaty run.  Luckily, trail running provides one huge benefit lots of roads don’t.  Shade.  When things start to heat up trail runningoutdoors running early in the morning or at night is ideal.  Since that isn’t a possibility for everyone shaded dirt paths can give you some relief from baking sunlight and heat.  The trees can also protect you from rain drops and oftentimes a windy day.

Surface.  Roads, sidewalks and treadmills are hard.  They’re hard on knees, hips, ankles and sometimes, brains.  Getting off a man-made surface and onto some good old fashioned dirt for a little trail running will give your joints a break.  The softer surface can help protect you from injury while challenging you body to respond to something new.

Strength.  The same way dirt softens your landing and gives you beautiful scenery to look at, it helps make you stronger.  Balancing on trails as you traverse paths covered in leaves, roots, streams, holes and hills make you work harder.  Your core activates to keep you upright, your ankles and calves have to be more flexible and responsive and as your stride shortens to give you more security, you’ll land more on your mid-foot, protecting you from injury.

Fun.  Trail running forces you to spend time with nature.  You’ll see wildlife and jump over a few squirrels all with a smile on your face.  The slower pace gives you time to genuinely enjoy your surroundings without any of the pressure associated with a tough track workout.  Pushing your body to learn how to respond to the toughness trails present without worrying about how fast you’re going will be a big bonus when you get back on the road.

Accessories.  Trail running invites accessories.  For the fuel belt, water pack, trail shoe, energy gel, sunglasses, visor, shorts with pockets runner, trails are the spot for you.  With your next water source usually unknown, taking hydration with you is a must.  Try that new arm band for your phone and snap a few photos during your workout.  Since you’re out there having fun, don’t be afraid to try new things that could help you perform better in the future.

So head on out there and start trail running!  Changing your scenery and your pace is good for your body and your brain.

Coach Meredith