Calling all Boston Marathoners, it’s that time of year! Spring is in the air, hopefully the snow is done, and the marathon is quickly approaching. So exciting!!!
Once again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t offering a little advice to all my patients, family and friends on how they can better take care of themselves during this exciting time of year, and the rest of the year, as “marathon-ing” is starting to become an all year round sport.
I cannot stress how important it is that runners and athletes in general be more proactive to take care better care of themselves leading up to a marathon, and in their recovery post marathon as well. Being proactive pre-race and post-race, whether it being seeing your chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, or acupuncturist, can really help prevent injury from occurring leading up to the race, and certainly help speed up your recovery and get back on the road to training after the race. There are so many words of advice, tips, recommendations etc., that I am going to just focus on a few things that I have found myself to fall short on after running a marathon or completing a triathlon.
One of the most commonly asked question by a runner or triathlete is, “How long should I wait to run again after the marathon?”. After my first marathon, I had no clue, and I thought I could just jump back into running like it was nothing! I mean, I had just completed 26.2 miles of running, I felt like I could do anything! Boy was I wrong, and it certainly wasn’t the first question I asked. So…for all of those who are inquiring and don’t want to be like me on the first time around, general rule of thumb seems to be 1-2 weeks depending on how one feels.
A lot of articles say 5-7 days of rest post marathon, which I am totally fine with. More importantly though, 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 injuries that the runner or triathlete is dealing with from before the race, or an injury resulting from the race. As for triatletes, usually one can get back to swimming right away, as it is not compressive to the body, but I wouldn’t be trying to “kill it” in the pool. As for the bike, again, less compressive to the body, but listen to your legs and your body, and how you feel over all. To go a little lighter for a few weeks post-race is not a bad thing. You can still get some good training and exercise in without destroying your body.
Again, as I have mentioned before, ice baths for recovery post race are awesome. 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 microtrauma (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. I recommend getting into the tub and filling it with cold water around you first (up to your waste), then dumping a bag or two of ice into the water after you are submerged. It is best to stay submerged in the ice bath for about 10 minutes if you can tolerate it.
As always, I am a HUGE fan of a post marathon chiropractic adjustment and Active Release Techniques® (ART) to help realign your body, and set your straight for the rest of the season, or whatever race you have coming up next. Post-race massage within a few days’ post marathon or whatever race you have done is so important, and something I always do without fail. Without my chiropractors and massage therapists, physical therapist, and acupuncturist, I do not think I could train the way I do, and keep going after all of these years, seriously!
I really hope some of this information helps you all in your journey to the Boston Marathon this year, or whatever race or competition you have on your calendar in 2018. And, in particular to the month of April, Happy Boston Marathon-ing to everyone racing. Think positive thoughts to carry you through that day, and I will be there with you all in spirit! If you have any questions about pre and post marathon or race recovery, please feel free and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.