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Jenny Hadfield

This Sunday, November 3rd is the New York City Marathon: 

Steve our owner and many of our clients are participating in this incredible athletic event. Below is some sound advice for your recovery, which includes Massage. So book your appointment for next week so you can be up and running again in no time!!

Good luck to all our clients on their race, enjoy and be well.

How Should I Recover Post-Marathon?
Every recovery is different, but here are some strategies.
By Jenny Hadfield
October 12, 2012
Hot Stone Massage Recovery
I really struggled after my last marathon. Do you have any tips for recovering post-race? I think I made a lot of mistakes, like running the next day. Thanks. —Jonathan

Don't be so hard on yourself, Jonathan. There are a host of variables that can affect your marathon recovery like the intensity of the race, the elements, your health, and training season. In fact, post-race recovery is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Every recovery is different.

That said, there are several strategies you can employ post-race that will aid in speeding the rate of recovery.

Just keep walking. Cross the finish line, get your medal, have your picture taken, and keep walking. Although the first instinct may be to drop to your knees and thank the gods that you’ve finished, that isn’t the best way to go. Think about it: You’ve just asked your body to run for 26.2 miles. It’s still in marathon mode when you finish and is in great need of a transitionary phase. Think like Dory and just keep walking (swimming) because when you do, your heart rate gradually drops, the circulation diverts back to its resting state and flushes lactic acid from the muscles. Walk at least 10 to 15 minutes—back to your car, hotel, or cab.
Eat, drink, and be merry. Eat a small snack within the first 30-60 minutes post-race. Save the big meal for later in the day when your appetite returns and you can enjoy that reward meal. Post-race is more about getting in about 200-300 easily digested calories from carbohydrates and protein to maintain blood sugar levels, replenish muscle glycogen, and repair muscle tissue. Half of a turkey sandwich, carrots, and almond butter or pretzels will do the trick. If it’s a hot race, try liquid recovery drinks. If it’s cold, soup gets the job done. Continue to nibble on balanced snacks and meals that include three to four parts carbohydrate to one part protein. Sip fluids during the day to rehydrate.
Chill out. Soak in a cold water bath for five to 10 minutes and consider wearing compression tights. Both can aid in decreasing inflammation in your legs and speed the rate of healing.
Get a leg up. Invest five to 10 minutes in the Yoga Pose “Legs Up on the Wall” or “Viparita Karani” (see #6 Leg Drop Pose in this video). It refreshes circulation, gently stretches the legs, and is a great way to internally celebrate your race (especially when wearing your medal).
Stretch, roll, and massage. Wait at least two to six hours after the race to stretch and foam roll and at least 24 hours for a massage. This allows your muscles time to replenish fluids and energy lost and recover from the demands of the race.
Give yourself a break. One of the most common mistakes I see runners make is running too soon post-marathon. Think of the marathon like a car accident (I know...pleasant, huh?). It has been through a tough season of training and 26.2 miles on the roads. The best way to recover is to not aggravate it by going out for a run the next day (that is your ego talking). Take the day to celebrate, schedule a massage and do some light walking and stretching. I asked women’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe what she did post marathon and I wasn’t at all surprised at her answer: “I take a month off to recover, do yoga, and cross-train.”
Post Race Week I – Cross-train, rest, and test the waters. Invest the first week in short, light effort, low impact cross-training activities that will boost circulation, warm your muscles and aid in the healing journey. If all feels well later that week, run a short “testing the waters” easy effort run (30 minutes).
Post Race Week II – run short and easy. If things still hurt – keep cross-training and let simmer. For week two, start back to your normal running frequency but keep the effort easy and the distance shorter (30-60 minutes).
Post Race Week III – run longer and a little faster. If things are still feeling well, in week three ease back into distance and intensity.
Run-on Races. If you’re running multiple races in one season it is vital to invest in optimal recovery. Read how to do so in this blog post.
Happy Trails.

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