OCTOBER 18, 2014
Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon With Ivy Funds
RUN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COURSES IN THE MIDWEST
5K HALF FULL RELAY KIDS
presented by Mayo Clinic
The Importance of Rest
Congratulations to all runners who recently participated in the Waddell and Reed Kansas City Marathon! After all of your hard work and training, it is important to take the appropriate time to rest and allow your body to heal. Mayo Clinic wants to remind you that it is important to take some time for yourself and rest up.
Q: Why do I need to rest after running a marathon?
A: Completing a marathon means you have just pounded your legs on the hard pavement over 25,000 times. During the 2-7 days following the marathon, you may experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers and the surrounding connective tissue because of eccentric muscle contractions or lengthening or braking contraction. DOMS is generally most severe 24-72 hours after exercise. Even if the micro-trauma damage is minimal, the soft connective tissue and bones are in a vulnerable state, and jumping right into a heavy training schedule will slow down the recovery of muscles and soft tissue.
Q: Is there anything I can do to speed up the recovery process?
A: There are several things you could do to help your body recover. Icing your legs for 5-10 minutes every few hours after running will calm the blood flow to your legs. You should also begin a high-carbohydrate intake immediately following the marathon to rebuild glycogen stores. Eating foods rich in antioxidants will help repair tissue damage. Then, in the days that follow, supplement your carbohydrates with a modest amount of protein to promote muscle repair and be sure to keep drinking plenty of water.
In addition, make sure you are tending to any injuries that may have occurred during the race. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts and water will help prevent the nails and blisters from getting infected and will promote healing. Resist the urge to run until the soreness in your muscles subside. Your muscle resiliency is at an all-time low, and your risk of injury is high. Stretch daily and give your body an extra nap or hour of sleep per night.
Q: How long before I can train for my next race?
A: During the four weeks following the marathon, your training goals should be to recover first, then add quality and volume back gradually so that you emerge injury-free, mentally refreshed, and able to capitalize on the fitness you built during marathon training.
Take a couple of days off from running and then resume at a very relaxed pace. As you resume, you could try doing a pre-marathon taper in reverse. To do this, jog a few miles to finish off the marathon week, then run 50% of your usual weekly mileage the second week, and 75% the third week. To ensure a complete recovery, run at a moderate intensity on grass and trails if possible to lessen the pounding on your sore muscles.
After 3-4 weeks of full training, you should be completely recovered from the marathon, and ready to consider racing. But listen to your body. The last thing you want to do is force racing again if your body isn't ready.
Q: What are some ways to remain active while I take some time off from running?
A: While rest is good, total inactivity is not. While your body is recovering, try light aerobic workouts such as walking, bicycling, yoga, or swimming. These activities will help both your body and mind recover from the rigors of the marathon.
Q: Why does it take some runners longer to recover than others?
A: There’s no single recovery method that works for all runners. How much time someone needs really depends on the individual and their training.
All other factors being equal, women generally recover more slowly than men due to hormonal differences. Testosterone, the main male hormone, may have a positive impact on marathon recovery time. Age is another factor. If you are well over 40, you won’t recover as fast as a marathoner who is 30 years old and well trained. And of course, the more effort you exerted and the amount of training you have done will also play into your recovery. Just remember to be smart and listen to your body.