In light of the NYC Marathon today, here are some thoughts on post-marathon recovery.
1. Keep moving – it is dangerous to stop your body suddenly. Keep walking for as long as you can after you cross the finish line to allow your heart rate and blood flow to normalize. Throughout the rest of the day try to get up and walk around every 10-15 minutes to prevent muscle and joint stiffness.
2. Replenish replenish replenish! Take in calories as soon as you can. If you find it difficult to eat immediately, stick to a liquid recovery drink such as Gatorade or V-8. We recommend eating small frequent meals for the rest of the day to replenish lost salts, carbs, and water. Try to incorporate both protein and carbs at each meal. Drink water but don’t over hydrate so your salts get diluted, aim to pee a pale yellow. If your urine is too dark you should drink more, if it is clear, hold back on the water and eat more.
3. Brace for the pain – you will be sore for several days after the race. The pain will peak around day 2 of recovery. To reduce pain and inflammation, take a brief ice bath or cold swim. As tempting as it may be, do not apply heat, have a hot bath, or hot tub. A Massage a few hours after will also help with blood flow and muscle recovery.
Anti-inflammatory foods: salmon, olive oil, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, cherries, blueberries, turmeric, garlic, ginger, green tea.
L-Glutamine is an amino-acid, a protein building block, found in high quantities in muscle tissue. Many studies have found that during prolonged exhaustive exercise plasma glutamine levels drop substantially. L-Glutamine powder is tasteless and can be added to water before, during and after a workout to stop muscle breakdown and begin recovery. Take another dose an hour before bedtime, since body tissues repair during sleep and can use the much-needed amino acids during this prolonged repair phase. Dietary sources of L-glutamine include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley. Here are some brands we trust.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are anti-inflammatory and prevent joint pain and swelling particularly when caused by the impact of running. Emergen-C makes a powdered Joint Health Supplement that can be found in most pharmacies and health food stores.
Iron helps deliver oxygen to the muscles to improve endurance and prevent tears and fatigue. Take with vitamin C to improve absorption.
Calcium and Vitamin D need to be taken together, as vitamin D is needed for the body to process calcium. Calcium strengthens bones and prevents stress fractures. You can obtain it from supplements and dietary sources such as skim-milk and low-fat yogurts, and cheeses.