Recovering After a Race
We had over 3000 runners and walkers complete the Vancouver USA Marathon & Half Marathon this past weekend! Major kudos to Brian Davis and the team at Energy Events for producing such a world class event that has been recognized as one of the best in the country and attracts people from all over the world!
Well, I’m guessing the running community is probably a little stiff and tight right now! If you see people walking a little funny, you’ll know why! So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss how to recovery quickly after a challenging physical endeavor!
The best way to treat extreme muscle soreness is to prevent it in the first place. So if you are super stiff, you may not have put in enough training to manage the effort effectively. Next event, consult with a coach to assure your training protocol sufficiently prepares you for the race.
Cold treatment, elevation and anti-inflammatories
We experience stiffness due to the body’s inflammation response. If you’ve done a little too much, your body will send blood flow and nutrients to the affected area to help heal the tissues. The problem is typically the body overcompensates and you get too much fluid in the area causing pressure and pain. So whatever you can do to decrease the inflammation response will help with the amount of associated pain. Ice or cold treatment will constrict the blood vessels slowing down blood flow to the area and therefore decreasing the inflammation response. Some athletes will sit in an ice bath or cold river, or hose down their affected muscles with cold water or just use ice packs. Elevating the affected areas will also decrease the blood flow and the inflammation response. While others will use ibuprofen or a topical anti-inflammatory like Traumeel or Arnica. Don’t overdo it though! We still want to assure adequate blood flow to aid the healing process.
Move that body
The last thing you want to do when you are really sore is workout. But if you sit around, you actually get stiffer. So it’s better to get moving and help flush some of those fluids out of the tissues. Just make it easy like a gentle walk or bike ride and that should do the trick!
Book an appointment with a therapist that can do some reflexology, acupressure or cupping techniques to help release some of the tissues. I’m a firm believer in the importance of body work such as massage as well as daily foam rolling if you are extremely active. It’s the support your body needs to be able to continue doing what you want for years and years!
Proper nutrition & hydration
Be sure to drink lots of water, eat tons of fruits and vegetables and lean protein sources to adequately fuel the healing process!
Congratulations on your accomplishment! Crossing the finish line definitely changes you!
Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com
Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.