Congratulations!! 13.1 miles of mental and physical endurance! Maybe you never thought of yourself as a runner. Maybe you doubted you’d ever make it round. Maybe you were the last person to cross the finish line. However you got there, you made it and you deserve praise and adoration (for at least a day, or until your colleagues bar you from talking about it ever again!)
But how should you recover? A long nap or unlimited cake? Here are 4 tips for making the most of your recovery time.
- Nourish yourself: think lean proteins, fruit and veg, and lots and lots of water. It’s tempting to binge on junk food but after 13 miles you really don’t need it. That’s not to say DON’T have 3 pints and a pizza – you’ve burned around 1000-2000 calories and put in a huge effort – but try not to use it as an excuse to have a pizza and 3 pints every day for the next week! Your body will thank you for eating well, repairing muscles more effective and keeping your immune system functioning well.
- Get a massage: here at Inside Out, Sarah and Basia are the best masseuses in Glasgow, probably even Scotland! They will help ease your tired muscles and gently release those areas causing you the most problems. If you can’t squeeze in a massage in the days following your run, use a foam roller or tennis ball, focussing on your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes, and any other areas of tension. And don’t forget to stretch!
- Keep moving: A run in the days following a half marathon will keep your muscles in good condition and help to ease any stiffness. If you really can’t face it, make sure you at least keep moving in the hours and days after your race, or you’ll be struggling to walk down any stairs! Walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, a cycle ride…do what you can to maintain the health of your muscles before you decide on your next big challenge.
- Get some shut eye: Often after big events like this, sleeping is tough. This is due to a combination of factors, including raised cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, as well as the consumption of stimulants like gels and Lucazade, and dehydration making it difficult to lower your body temperature. Try to factor that in and plan some early nights during the week to you catch up. Yes, this will help you stay awake during that important meeting on Monday but it will also help to lower those stress hormone levels, help your body repair those muscles and keep your immune system healthy. If you’re struggling, try using an app like Headspace or a deep relaxation podcast.
So, post your medal pics on our Facebook page, bask in the glory of your success, and have a think about what’s next… Did someone say “marathon?”