Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pre-marathon strategy

So. You’re thinking about doing a marathon?  You’ve decided to do a marathon? You’ve signed up for a marathon? You know when it is, you’ve found yourself a training schedule and you’re out there on the roads, putting in the miles you need to run before the big day arrives. With more than 40 marathons to choose from in Colorado and the surrounding states, you’ve got to be one among thousands. Congratulations. May you have the race of a lifetime.

            That said, the moment will come, yes, I promise, it will, when the race is over. And for a little while, before post-race euphoria sets in, it’s likely you won’t feel so good. In fact, during those moments, you may swear that you’ll never do this again. But before you know it, you’ll be one happy camper, basking in your accomplishment and deciding that if you can run 26.2 miles, well, you can probably do just about anything you set your mind to.

            For next couple of days, you may choose to descend stairs backwards and groan really loudly when you try to get up out of a chair or off the ground, but the day will come when you are ready to hit the road again. There are all kinds of advice on post-marathon recovery. Here are some guidelines you might want to consider:

1.    Some say recovering from a marathon takes one or two weeks. Others claim a person should consider himself  “injured” for 26 days, one day for each mile of the race. The duration of recovery depends upon the level of competition and intensity of effort put forth. Only you can decide what that is for you.
2.     Before the marathon put in adequate mileage. The more it hurts before the race, the less it will hurt afterwards. Be faithful about your weekly long run which will prepare you psychologically for going farther when it counts.
3.     Pace yourself carefully during the marathon. If you go out too fast and have to do the last few miles in “survival mode” you may end up with some issues that even a week in a hot tub won’t cure.
4.     Drink at every opportunity.
5.      After the race, get off your feet as soon as possible and have something to drink. Soft drinks are good because of their high sugar content.  Shower and rest a little while before you eat.
6.     Do very little for the next few weeks. Refrain from any running for as long as long as a week. Now is the time to walk, swim or bike—activities that use different muscle groups.
7.     Listen to your body. Everyone is different. Don’t go back to hard training until you find yourself eager to do so.

The Colorado Runner magazine event guide for 2012 lists more than 700 races in the area. It’s a great year-long reference. Upcoming races in Fort Collins and Loveland include the Horsetooth Half Marathon, April 22, Fast and Furriest 5K, CSU, April 28, Cinco-Cinco 5K, CSU, Colorado Marathon, half-marathon, 10k and 5K, May 6, Sierra’ Race Against Meningitis, 5K, Loveland, June 2.

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