An Endurance Athlete’s Secret Weapon to Post-Race Recovery
Training for a marathon, ironman, or a long distance cycling event can be long and grueling. Many scheduled training sessions are scheduled over a course of weeks to months to prepare you and your body for the big event you set your mind to from the beginning. But what happens when the race is over? How do you assure that your body is going to recover properly?
Let’s begin with some do’s and don’t’s of the training process itself. As an athlete, “never give up” is a mentality that can be a double-edged sword. Knowing the signs of muscle fatigue during training are important. Muscle fatigue is derived from prolonged over training. Endurance athletes are the “energizer bunnies” of exercise; constantly putting in the hours and sweat to train for their desired event.
Here are some warning signs of over working your body during training.
- Muscle weakness: If you feel your muscles are tired after performing workouts you have performed previously and now are having difficulty completing them unexpectedly.
- Leg Twitches: Muscle weakness can cause twitching in the muscles referred to as myoclonic jerks. These can be a sign that your body needs rest and some recovery time.
- Lack of energy: Endurance athletes could feel the lack of energy or feel they are incapable of completing training runs that were previously completed. This is caused by improper blood flow to upper and lower extremities.
- Weakened grip/trembling: This could be an indication that you are exceeding your limit with training. Your muscles want to protect themselves from injury, which is why you feel like your body is “shutting down”
So, if you are properly training and complete your desired event, what now? How do you keep your body at optimal performance, or how do you improve performance? Most athletes consider these questions as after thoughts, but that can be detrimental to staying healthy for future race events.
Nutrition is a large component to proper post-race recovery. Many athletes can tend to veer off the path of healthy eating and consume too many calories that are not needed for recovery. It is important to continue a balanced diet with natural and non-processed foods to fuel your body correctly. Some post-race foods to include can be but not limited to: raw almonds, natural peanut butter/almond butter with plain Greek yogurt, fresh fruit (dark berries rich in antioxidants), salmon, grilled chicken breast and much more. Rebuilding muscle after putting them through a rigorous endurance race is key to injury prevention.
Proper Muscle Care
Another large component of the endurance race recovery process is proper muscle care and prevention of injury. Sports Chiropractic care has grown in popularity immensely over the past decade. With the statistics of runners increasing across the United States, injuries from improper running mechanics are also growing. Sports Chiropractic care gives first time endurance athletes and veteran runners the ability to improve their mindfulness and awareness about their bodies and how they can perform to their fullest potential. If small injuries and muscle “tweaks” have been accruing over the course of a long training plan without being addressed, they can have large impacts on your overall muscular health for future sporting events.
Many individuals are under the misconception that a chiropractic physician is only important for spinal health and adjustments. While this is a large part of what separates our profession from other healthcare professions, our ability to treat encompasses the entire body and biomechanics. Sports chiropractic can be considered an “athlete’s secret weapon” on multiple angles of healthcare. It is a growing healthcare field that diagnoses musculoskeletal conditions and treats these injuries with multiple modalities to improve athletic performance, coordination, injury prevention and effective treatments for overuse injuries. Techniques such as myofascial release, medically based deep tissue sports massages, rehabilitation and adjustments of the restricted joints are just some of the benefits of seeing our professionals at Back to Motion.
So, when thinking of joining the endurance sport life, always remember these tips to keep your recovery and body at optimal function and performance.
- During training always assure that you are not overtraining to risk the chances of getting an injury that could prevent you from success in your sport.
- After each training run and cross-training session, the importance of foam rolling IT bands, hamstrings, calves and quadricep muscles is crucial to recovery. By performing this for 30 seconds on each muscle group and each leg, it will function as an active stretch for needed muscles as well as increasing blood flow to help alleviate any soreness that has accrued during your workout.
- Nutrition is important even after your big race day! Self-sabotaging with over consumption of sugar and carbohydrates and low consumption of proper protein can potentially harm the recovery process of your muscles. Remember muscle health is everything.
- Sports chiropractic. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of maintaining a healthy and functional body to optimally perform and continue to do so post-race day. Addressing small concerns prior to them becoming an injury is detrimental to your success. Remember knowledge is power and prevention is the key to success.
Dr. Alexa Veeder is a chiropractic physician and is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. She is co-owner of Back to Motion and the lower extremity specialist in the office. She specializes in runners including cross-training, chiropractic, rehab and marathon training. Dr. Bradley Visconti is the other co-owner in Back to Motion and is also a New York Chiropractic College graduate. Dr. Visconti brings a large rehabilitative and chiropractic combination to their practice. Together they have created a place where chiropractic does not just mean a single adjustment. It is a combination of tools utilized from other manual medicines such as rehab, fitness, massage therapy AND adjustments to assist in the quick recovery and discharge of patients. To join the running club email: BTMfirstname.lastname@example.org. For information, call (860) 665-0826 or visit the website at: www.BTMrehabfitness.com