Have you completed your marathon (half marathon, quater marathon, walk ) and thought the worse part was over with ? Well, think again! As you find yourself going downstairs with knees screaming out in agony, I bet you wish there was a magic ‘post marathon wand’ out there. Sorry, there is not. The good news is : Here’s my top 3 of things you can do to help yourself!
1) Up your magnesium intake
Magnesium has been linked to muscle recovery, particularly after exercise. According to Recovery Spray (a topical magnesium supplement) magnesium intake can ‘ Speed recovery from intense training. Magnesium is important for post-workout recovery. After all, it’s the 4th most abundant mineral found in the body. Thus, when it’s restored, it may help protect against inflammation and greatly increase recovery from strenuous activity,[ensuring] muscle recovery since this electrolyte is depleted quickly during exertion due to the fact that it helps regulate insulin and blood pressure sensitivity.’ Another way of absorbing magnesium into your body, rather than pills or sprays is the good old tried and tested bath in Epsom Salt, which is actually Magnesium Sulphate.
2) Wear your compression gear
Yes, you do see people actually run in their calf sleeves, but I have always believed in the benefit of compression after a long run. I love my calf shields (see for my fav Auckland stockists Triathletes Corner ), especially if worn over night. At night time , as our heart rate and metabolism slows, so does our circulation. This is a particular time when inflammation can set in and the next morning you get up and think: OUCH! That’s DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for you. It is thought that compression gear can help speed up recovery by increasing blood flow to major muscles, which have experienced muscle trauma during exercise. So wear your socks to bed with pride, even though your partner may think you have taken your training a step to far 🙂
It’s never too late for icing. This means putting an ice pack (frozen peas or gel packs are great, because they are pliable) on your sore calf/ hamstring/ quad/ hipflexor/ lower back for 20 minutes, then remove and let the muscle warm up naturally for about one hour. Repeat at your leisure. Ice baths are also growing in popularity, even if you are just dipping in up to your shin’s or knees, this can be a great way to chill the muscle. Similarly to compression, the contraction of your blood vessels from the cold decreases the inflammation in your muscles. Not for the faint hearted, but make it cold, rather than hot any day.
At the Auckland Marathon Expo I came across a brilliant new combination of both compression and ice:
DR COOL muscle wraps . I LOVE I LOVE I LOVE ! Watch this space for more on this genius invention soon.
And last , not least – this should be number 1 of course ! – Have a recovery massage !
I recommend people should overcome the worst initial two days just with rest and some minimal movement , making your massage day 3 to be endurable and perhaps even enjoyable, but definitively the most effective. However if you absolutely must have a massage the day after , be gentle on yourself. This is not the time for deep tissue work, your body is repairing – give it some R & R: Rest and Respect 🙂
Happy massaging as always !