It is that time of year! Spring is in the air… Easter, Passover, April Vacation, and of course, the Boston Marathon are all too quickly approaching. Woo-Hoo!!!
I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Chiropractor if I didn’t write something this month in regards to the marathon, and offering advice to my patients and friends how they can better take care of themselves during this exciting time of year.
In previous years I have chatted about how runners can be more proactive and take care better care of themselves leading up to the marathon. I want to switch gears and talk a little more about recovery and what runners can do “post-marathon” to help speed up their recovery and get back on the road to training afterwards. There are so many words of advice, tips, recommendations etc., I am going to just focus on a couple of things that I find to be VERY true and that have worked for me in the past.
Usually the biggest or most commonly asked question by a runner is, “How long should I wait to run again after the marathon?” Well this was one of the questions I did ask after my first marathon in 2008, it certainly wasn’t the first question I asked. I am not sure about all of you, but I wasn’t sure I would run again after getting through all of that for the first time, and having no clue what I was doing, lol. But, for all of those who are inquiring, general rule of thumb seems to be 1-2 weeks depending on how one feels.
Many articles say 5-7 days of rest post marathon, which I am totally fine with. BUT, those articles that people fail to read the entirety of, also state that after 5-7 days off, the next few weeks after that initial week should be taken lightly with training as the body is trying to recover. Usually within 3-4 weeks a runner can return to regular training, or harder workouts, providing there are no subsequent injuries those runners is dealing with from before the marathon, or an injury resulting from the marathon.
Another hot topic, or should I say “cool” topic, are ice baths for recovery post marathon. Most runners inquire about the effectiveness of ice baths and when or how long to soak in the tub of ice for. The general idea in regards to this type of cryotherapy treatment is that the exposure to cold helps the body fight the micro trauma (tiny little tears) in the muscle fibers causing soreness by the repetitive exercise that just took place. Constricting the blood vessels for a short period of time can help to flush toxins released by the body during the event, and intern, help to decrease or reduce inflammation, swelling, and breakdown of tissue in the body.
Some post-race and post-competition festivities have ice baths at the finish waiting for the competitors after they have cooled down a bit. If that isn’t all that enticing to you, upon returning home or back to your hotel that day, and before you hop into the shower would be a good time to do so. I recommend getting into the tub and filling it with cold water around you first (up to your waste), and then dumping the bags of ice into the water after you are submerged. Or just hop in the tub in your race shorts, and sports bra ladies, and let someone else have the pleasure of dumping the ice in all around you. It is best to stay submerged in the ice bath for about 10 minutes. More time is not necessary, and I am sure no one will be jumping at the idea of soaking in a bath of ice any longer then they have to.
I really hope these tips helps you all in your road to recovery post Boston Marathon this year. If you have any questions about post marathon recovery, please feel free and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, I am a big fan of a post marathon chiropractic adjustment and ART to help realign your body, and a post-race massage within a few days’ post-marathon. Happy Marathon-ing everyone, think positive thoughts to carry you through that day, and I will be there with you all in spirit!