Whether you are relatively new to running or a seasoned racer like Tsegaye Mekonne, if you are one of the 26,000 people who ran in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon events this weekend, what you do after your run has a big impact on your recovery. Here are a few tips for recovery:
At the finish line: Your body will cool down swiftly. Using the reflective blanket provided at the finish line and continuing to walk for at least 15-20 minutes can help prevent a sudden body temperature drop, and help your heart rate and breathing to slowly return to normal.
20 minutes post run: You’ll need to restore electrolytes and fluids. Adding a pinch of salt to your water or making your own natural sports drink (recipe below) will help your body retain more of the fluid you drink, and reduce the risk of hyponatremia (low blood sodium) as you rehydrate. Electrolyte gels and salty, starchy pretzels are a great snack after you’ve cooled off a bit. Bone broth is an excellent recovery drink due to its natural mineral content and collagen for tissue regeneration.
One hour post run: A high carb meal with a generous amount of protein will give your body the fuel to start replenishing glycogen and repairing muscle damage. Potassium rich high-carb whole foods such as squash, sweet or baked potatoes, lentils and bananas are good choices to refuel while further restoring electrolytes. Magnesium, available from fatty fish, broccoli, spinach, nuts and chocolate, helps regulate muscle tone and prevent spasm. It may be tempting to celebrate your victory, but alcohol should be avoided as it can dehydrate you further.
Four hours post-run: A warm bath can help relax sore muscles and calm the nervous system, but be careful not to run the water too hot after a long run, as it can increase your blood pressure and cause you to sweat (and therefore dehydrate) even more. Some people swear by Epsom salts to reduce soreness, but they should be avoided if they irritate open blisters or sores on the feet.
Twenty four hours post run: Active recovery measures such as walking or biking, swimming, foam rolling, stretch and mobility exercises will help reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Keep your effort low and your warm ups long.
Forty eight hours post run: You may want to schedule a massage for a day or two after the marathon to relieve discomfort and muscle tension. Plan to recover for at least three days before feeling ready to return to more intense exercise or strength training. Incorporate dynamic mobility and gentle stretching daily to maintain flexibility as your muscles heal.
Greaterade Recovery Drink
- Juice 3 oranges and 2 lemons,
- Stir in 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt,
- And 1/4 cup maple syrup until well combined.
- Mix with 2 liters of spring or mineral water
- Adjust salt and maple syrup to taste.