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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post Marathon Recovery- Part 1 Race Day

" No matter what hurts at the beginning, by the end of the race something else will hurt worse."- Bob O'Connor

The average runner to finishing a marathon is going to feel some pain race day and for at least a few days after.  There are steps you can take before, during and after the race to minimize discomfort and speed your recovery.  Take these steps to help you feel your best during and after your race;

TrainingThe more prepared you are for your marathon or other long distance race the less sore you will be during and after the race.  Have at least 3 long runs of at least 20 miles on your training plan.   Your training plan should also include speed work, tempo runs and strength training to build endurance. Short your trainig and you will be very sore race day and for days after if you even finish the race. Also practice eating and drinking what you plan to consume on race day. You want to be sure your food intake is well tolerated and can be done smoothly.

Specific Training
Find out what type of course you will be running. If it is hilly you need to train for hills. If there are long downhill stretches you need to add down hill running to your training. Knowing what is on the course will also help you mentally prepare.  I know for instance that the first 10 miles of the Boston Marathon are on a down hill incline. The next 10 miles are rolling hills, with the big hill known as heartbreak hill at mile 21. I have adjusted my training program to include hills and running down hill so I am ready for Boston this April.

Race
Go out easy and stay within your planned pace so you don't over do in the last miles. Stay hydrated with water and sports drink. Also eat food offered on the course or supplment with sport gels and bars.  This replaces electrolyes and other nutrients to help get through the race and set you up for recovery.

Finish
Keep walking as you cross the finish line to keep your blood moving.  Sitting down can cause the blood to pool in your legs increating soreness.  Be sure you walk at least 10 -15 minutes each hour if you can tolerate it. A little later try elevating your legs by proping them up against a wall for 10 minutes. This helps to return blood out of your legs.

Food
You just ran 26.2 miles and you need to re-fuel even if you are not hungry.  Take the food offered at the finish. Many races now are offering food designed to spur recovery.  Grab a bottle of water to help you rehydrate. Drink milk if offered since it has been shown to help with muscle recovery.  Take in some sports drink throughout the day since this will help to replace the carbohydrates, protein and sodium you lost through the race.

Injuries
If you limped into the finish, address any injuries with rest, ice, and elevation. Do not get a massage if you have an injury or at least be careful about massage in that area.  If you came through healthy a massage can be a good idea if you wait at least a couple of hours. Doing it sooner can create more soreness.

Stretching
If you can't get a massage, at least do a good stretch with a roller stick or foam roller.  Stretch slowly and don't force anything. Stay out of the hot tub since heat will aggravate any injuries and impede recovery.

These are just a few of the steps you take the day of the race. In my next post I will talk about some plans for the weeks following your long distance race to get you back running and ready to race again.

Chris Wodke
Team Manager Team CMT
http://www.run4cmt.com/

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Running, triathlons, impaired athlete, paratriathlon, USAT, running and CMT

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