Congratulations to all of you who participated in the Scotiabank Half Marathon this past Sunday! It was a gorgeous day and it was great to see how many dedicated people were out there having fun. The best part is, we raised money for a good cause while getting some great exercise 🙂 Remember – Stretch out, eat nutritiously and drink lots of water!
Here is a list of some post half-marathon tips:
- When you have crossed the finish line, do not stop moving. Make sure you walk at a steady pace for 5-10 minutes to allow your body to properly cool down and restore normal blood circulation. Avoid stopping activity completely or sitting down immediately after a race to prevent fainting and blood from pooling in the legs.
- Drink water, fruit juice or a sports drink within the first few minutes of completing the race to restore hydration. Sports drinks will replenish blood sugar levels and electrolytes quickly, however eating some post-race snacks (such as a banana, bagel, and/or granola or supplement bar) along with plain water will achieve the same goal. If your appetite is non-existant after a race, a sports drink is the best way to go.
- Within 30 minutes of post-race, make sure you eat carbohydrates (to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles) mixed with a little protein and some fat. Protein will help rebuild your tissues while healthy fats will help your body absorb the nutrients you are consuming.
- Rest is a key part in recovery from a long distance run or any endurance activity. When your body undergoes the repetitive stress of the activity, small micro tears form in your muscles that need time to repair themselves. There is no need to get back into running immediately after a race – take a few days to recover and give your body what it needs to repair itself. This will help reduce the risk of injury and help you perform better when you get back into your activities. Rest does not necessarily mean that you need to lay on the couch for 3 days straight without moving – make sure you stretch periodically to help your muscles repair and prevent them from tightening up. Go for short moderately paced walks to get your blood flowing and body moving. Other options include 30 minutes of easy paced biking or swimming, or engage in a relaxing stretch-filled yoga class.
- Many athletes use cold baths after activity to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Fill up a bathtub with lukewarm water and throw in some ice cubes. Hold your breathe and submerge into the icy tub! It may be a shock to the system but it is a great way to enhance recovery. Don’t feel the need to sit there for more than 10-15 minutes – too much ice time can actually damage tissue.
- If you only have a few sore spots and don’t want to indulge into a full blown ice bath, place ice packs on any sore areas you have. Ensure you place a towel between your skin and the ice pack and keep the ice on for 10-15 minutes max. Remove the ice pack and leave off for at least 30 minutes, then repeat as needed.
- Continue to drink lots of fluids throughout the entire post-race day and into the few days following.
- If you are experiencing any areas of pain that doesn’t seem to be subsiding, please make sure you see your chiropractor or preferred health care professional for assessment and treatment.