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Guide to recovery post marathon

Sunday, 19 January 2014 - 10:38am IST | Agency: dna

Here's your guide on how to recuperate after some serious running at the big race...
  • Puneet Chandhok dna

You received a plethora of advice on how to prep yourself before the marathon with regards to exercise and diet. And hopefully, you’ve been following it obediently. But what about post-marathon? Recovery after the marathon is just as important as preparing before the marathon, in terms of diet, exercise and rest. We spoke to fitness experts in the city on the do’s and don’ts post-marathon

Hydrating your body is must, whether its pre, during or post-marathon because there occurs depletion of fluids in the body. “One needs to hydrate his/herself within 30 minutes post the race. One could either opt for water, nimbu paani, glucose water or electrolyte fluids. It’s an individual choice. These options are fine, if one has run five to seven kms. However, if one has run the whole circuit, then ideally a protein and carbohydrate (not just plain protein) shake prepared with milk, juice or water is good,” recommends Shalini Bhargava, fitness instructor at JG’s Fitness Centre.

Stretching and exercise
It’s important to stretch the muscles after running the marathon. That’s because there is a built up of lactic acid after such a strenuous physical activity. “The next day after the marathon, one should go for a brisk walk for about 45 minutes, beginning with a warm-up, then brisking up the pace and then slowing down. This is to help get rid of the lactic acid formation in the body. Three days after the marathon, for a week, one can resume going to the gym and opt for strength training, especially for the knees and upper body, as most runners don’t train in the gym,” advises Leena Mogre, director of Leena Mogre’s fitness. The reason being one shouldn’t let go of the fitness levels he/she has worked hard for weeks and months to achieve for the marathon. 

It’s important to replenish the body with proteins and carbohydrates and so having an egg or chicken sandwich/wrap is a great option. Remember to have it within half an hour post the race. Once the race is done, everyone’s ecstatic and in a celebratory mood, even if the whopping majority hasn’t emerged as a winner. And as a part of this celebratory mood, on the cards is to head out to a nice restaurant with your speeding companions or family and friends and chow down yummy food. Be it a king-sized breakfast/brunch or a heavy lunch. Bhargava says, “It’s okay to indulge since the body has been through a lot. However, don’t over do it. Suppose you burnt 2,000 calories running, it doesn’t justify you eating 5,000 calories.”

Mogre recommends going for a massage either a deep tissue or a sports one. “Massage is a way of recovery too. Getting a massage helps to build up new muscles,” she says. A sports massage is usually performed on sportspersons and athletes, and is aimed at treating and preventing sports injuries and boosting flexibility. Deep tissue massage as the name suggests, is aimed at working on the deeper tissue levels for relieving stress, improving circulation and reducing toxins in the body.

Resting is crucial post the marathon. Ideally, one can sleep it off for two to three hours after the race. If one sleeps for a much longer duration, it will affect the body’s sleep cycle later. Also, doing yoga is a great way to heal the mind and body post-marathon, says Bhargava.

Things to avoid
Once you’re done with marathon, the idea is to cool down the body. Beverages like caffeine, aerated drinks and energy boosting drinks raise the metabolism. Therefore, they should be avoided post- marathon, advises Shalini Bhargava.

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