You’ve just run an intense race, and you’re aching in places you’ve never felt pain before Free visual studio 2019. What now? Chris Walsh, a personal trainer at 360 Specialized Training based in Cape Town, gives us insight into what happens to your body after a half marathon, and what to do to get back on track.
Be prepared to deal with a load of physical gremlins like muscle inflammation, and injuries including muscle strain, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis – a foot condition that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. “Icing of the legs intermittently for a day or two will reduce swelling and speed up recovery,” suggests Walsh. A sports massage or light yoga session will also help in aligning posture and relieving injuries.
Another concern after a big race is a compromised immune system. Training can lower your immunity, and may make you sick.
Prevent this by sticking to a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, and rehydrating properly. “As useful as electrolytes are to restore blood sugar levels straight after a race, a solid water intake should be maintained over the following three to four days,” advises Walsh.
As much as long-distance running affects you physically, it can also have mental implications. This is why it is important to psychologically switch off. “If you don’t allow yourself mental relaxation, overtraining can set in, and you may hurt yourself,” says Walsh. “A few days off and then some cross training or outdoor activities away from running, are great ways to mentally switch off. Cycling or swimming could also work as these are non-impact and will help you recover.”
You would have had a strict training system leading up to a big race, so allow yourself a break. Refresh and refocus before getting back into routine. “But, when you are in recovery mode, book yourself in for your next race,” recommends Walsh. This will restore your excitement for the next one and ensure that you stay disciplined. Running will become part of your lifestyle – not all of it or completely absent.
Balance is always key for healthy habits.
The good stuff for your body
The benefits of taking on a half marathon are huge. Your body reaps the benefits – hello fit and toned! – and you are guaranteed an endorphin high.
You become physically and mentally stronger, get a nice little boost in your social life thanks to all your new running buddies, and you get to explore and travel around the country by running on different terrains. Overall, it will give you a life brimming with positivity and adventure.
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