Running and recovery, it goes without saying, are the two most important ‘Rs’ throughout your journey to this year’s ABP Southampton Marathon start line!
Plenty of mileage, of course, is a given as part of your training programme for either our 10km, half or full marathon events.
However, adequate recovery is also just as important as treading those hard yards out on the pavements – helping to ensure you’re fit, firing and ready to go next month.
After all, it is 31 days and counting until the fifth instalment of the ABP Southampton Marathon gets underway!
But, before we get stuck into the nitty gritty of crucial recovery techniques you should do and keep doing (if you haven’t already) in the final few weeks of your preparation, remember there is still time to sign up to our events ahead of race day on Sunday 5th May.
While general entries have closed for each of our three distances, due to unprecedented demand, it is still possible to register for any distance with a late entry. See here 10 reasons to run one of the Southampton distances!
In no particular order, here are 10 key recovery techniques:
Having a sports massage is a great way to refresh your tired legs and iron out any troublesome niggles you may have.
Seeing a physio frequently will reduce your injury risk and it is worth paying a visit to our physiotherapy partner, Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy.
Don’t forget there are many recovery techniques you can do from the comfort of your own home, such as foam rolling or self-massage with a hard ball, to find those trigger points.
By rolling over key muscle groups such as your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps – you can flatten out tight muscles and breakdown clogged up tissue.
If you are unsure how to target specific muscle groups, load up YouTube and there are plenty of how-to videos which should be a big help.
Elements of the rest, ice, compression and elevation technique should form part of your recovery post-run.
The beauty of ice, particularly running an ice bath, is that it offers several benefits. Cold water reduces lactic acid build-up and lessens swelling or inflammation.
However, if freezing cold temperatures don’t sound too appealing (!), try some warm recovery.
A nice hot bath is not only relaxing after exercise but helps to stimulate blow flow around your body, making it easier to stretch as a result.
A low intensity active recovery is a great way to wind down post-run.
Dynamic, free-flowing stretching and even some yoga, swimming or walking are excellent methods to bring your body back to a resting state after strenuous activity.
Rest and plenty of sleep is critical.
Eight hours per night is the golden ticket and you’ve probably found that your body needs more sleep during your training programme.
Our muscles repair, regenerate and heal when we sleep – enabling us to bounce back the next day and run again.
The same can be said for downtime.
As race day gets ever closer, it can be hard to think about or concentrate on anything else! When you’ve been working so hard towards your goal, it is an investment of not only time, but physical and mental energy.
So, it’s important to switch off now and then from running and recharge by reacquainting yourself with other hobbies.
Getting the right foods and hydration onboard after exercise is really important.
Replenish your energy stores with some healthy meal choices while protein shakes will aid muscle recovery.
Compression clothing, in many cases, has been suggested by sports scientists to improve aspects of recovery.
Tight-fitted clothing is thought to reduce muscle fatigue and inflammation, so it’s worth changing into some post-run!
Check out our official retail partner Alton Sports!
OK, technically this doesn’t strictly just fall under the recovery bracket but tapering certainly deserves a mention here.
With about a month to go until race day, you should soon start to wind down your mileage by reducing your weekly workload.
Everyone’s taper period is different but typically starts three weeks before the event. It is not an exact science but ideally, you want to complete your last long run this weekend and then focus on keeping your body fresh.
It is great to tick over with easy mileage, at an easy pace, rather than push too hard between now and 5 May.
Sure – if you’re targeting specific time goals and paces – speed work and long runs are really pivotal. But, by now, hopefully you will have banked plenty of those miles so light running is in a sense a recovery method to keep your body moving.
The same can be said for work on an exercise bike or cross-trainer – which are two good workouts to use post-run to cool down and get rid of some lactic acid.
Late entrants can sign up here!
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