Runner’s World November 2004
By Jeff Galloway
Q. What can I do the hours and days following my first marathon
to help speed recovery?
A. Keep moving! You’ll recover from a marathon faster if you
remain upright and active immediately after crossing the finish
line and in the days that follow. Here’s my five-step plan
that has helped thousands to feel better sooner and get right back
Take A Walk: As soon as you finish the race, grab a cup of water
or sports drink and walk for at least a half mile (a mile is better).
Walking helps move the blood through the body, which will jump-start
Eat Early: Within a half hour of finishing, eat a 200- to 300- calorie
snack that is roughly 80 percent carbohydrate and 20 perfect protein
(an energy bar and some sports drink or half a turkey sandwich).
This will help you restock your spent glycogen stores quickly.
Get Wet: As soon as you can, immerse your legs in cool water for
five to 15 minutes. Just use the cold water from the tap and add
some ice after you’ve been soaking a few minutes. A cold soak
helps reduce any inflammation.
Take A Walk, Again: The day after the race, walk for 30 to 60 minutes,
even if you don’t feel like doing so. It’ll help you
recover faster as you get the blood pumping again.
Walk And Jog Every Other Day: Two days after the race, try some
light jogging for 30 to 60 seconds for every two to three minutes
of walking. The total time for these sessions can be as little as
15 minutes, but 30 minutes is better. Alternate your walk and walk/job
days (steps 4 and 5) for the next week or two.
The Excuse (And How To Beat It)
Running causes too many injuries.
Actually, we shouldn’t ever get injured. Running is a natural
activity for us. I’ve talked to hundreds of runners who’ve
never had to take more than two days off due to injury. Here’s
what I’ve learned from the injury-free crowd:
1) Run every other day, since 48 hours between runs allows for complete
2) Warm up thoroughly by walking for three to five minutes. Then
alternate walking with slow jogging in 30-to-60 second segments
for five minutes before easing into your training pace.
3) Don’t increase your weekly mileage or the total amount
of any training component (speedwork, for example) by more than
10 percent each week.
4) After a couple weeks of increased mileage, reduce your mileage
by 30 to 50 percent for a week.
5) Don’t extend stride length when you’re tired or tight
at the end of runs. Use more of a shuffle.
Stay Racing Fit: 5-K Substitute
The end of fall can also mean the end of the local 5-K racing season.
Maintain your racing fitness by running this workout once every
two to three weeks. Warm up as you would before a race. Then, start
your watch as you begin a familiar route at a slightly slower than
5-K race pace. At about the half-mile point, pick it up to a 5-K
race pace and run another half mile. Note your time, then walk or
job for three to five minutes. Then try a one-mile segment at race
pace. Accumulate enough segments to add up to the 5-K distance.
See how your total time in segments compares to your actual 5-K
(Say What?) Running Jargon, Translated
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Muscle discomfort that peaks
about 48 hours after exercise. Often affects those who exercise
infrequently or occurs after particularly hard or long runs.
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