Marathon is a quite strenuous race. Tiredness and muscle pain may last for 48 hours or more. By doing the right things, you can speed up recovery and prevent possible injuries. Here are things you should do:
- Cool down: After a strenuous physical activity, you shouldn’t only lie down or stretch. Make sure that you complete the cool down process. You may jog lightly or walk after the race. It is important not to stop abruptly after a race. Walk around for about ten minutes, so your muscles can cool down. Lying down or sitting down could cause cramping. Stretching with without proper cool down period could overstimulate your tired muscle, resulting in cramping or in some cases, injuries.
- Refuel: Glycogen is the fuel used to allow our muscles to move, along with free fatty acids and blood glucose. After a lengthy session of physical activities, such as marathon race, these energy reserves will become depleted. As a result, anaerobic mechanism (without utilizing oxygen) will begin and lactate is produced. Lactic acid allows our muscles to obtain more energy, but this will cause stiffness and muscle pain. In a more serious situation, muscle breakdown will occur and this will reduce our muscle mass. For direct refuelling, we should consume foods that contain an amino acid called leucine, just 30 minutes after passing the finish line. Leucine will cause soreness and stiffness to subside much more quickly. You can find leucine in dairy products and meat. Some sports drinks and protein bars contain leucine, so you should read the ingredient labels. A good way to do this is by drinking a big glass of milk about 30 minutes after completing your marathon race. Alternatively, you can eat fruit salad with yogurt dressings.
- Rehydrate: You need to replenish fluid that you lose after a long marathon race. We start sweating even before the race begins, so you should drink enough fluid. If the marathon event takes place in a warm, humid region; you will need to drink more often, because you will lose more fluid through perspiration. Dehydration makes your blood thicker and the reduced blood flow will cause your muscles to get less oxygen, fuel and nutrients. Lack of water also causes you to lose focus and feel more tired. After gulping enough water in the middle of the race, many runners feel much refreshed. This is the signal from your brain that your body is getting enough water and you can continue your physical activity with fewer impediments.
Use cold and hot treatments: You can choose ice massage or ice baths. Alternatively, you may choose warm bath in the hot tub. Cold treatment is useful for easing pain and swelling of any affected muscle, while hot treatment is good for treating tired muscle. Take a warm bath before going to bed to make you feel much more relaxed. Ice will contract your blood vessel and restrict blood flow, which is good to reduce swelling. Hot water dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow, which will help to remove lactic acid, the substance that causes the feeling of muscle tiredness.