You might be in the middle of preparing for Coastrek or Oxfam Trailwalker by doing amazing things in your training sessions. Or you might have just finished your big race day. Too often people just collapse in bad that night and wake up and go about their day to day as per usual, without fully acknowledging what you have just accomplished. Let's discuss some post-endurance event recovery tips to help your body relax and repair, because that's just as important as the event itself!
Endurance training prepares your body to cover long distances and race day is like the final exam. You've been keeping the momentum going for so long now to keep your body going, but not many master how to help your body stop and slow down again. Here are some suggestions to help your recovery process after all training sessions and event day:
- Consider a massage
This sounds heavenly, but the reality is that first massage after you've really stretched yourself will be painful and sore. Deep pressure, too soon will have you screaming for mercy as the lactic acid is milked out of your muscles. Lots of warm up effleurage should be done first to encourage circulation and moving that lactic acid without excessive pain.
2. Protein - Endurance Training 101
It's common knowledge to follow up after training or the event day with a high protein supplement or shake to help with muscle recovery and repair. Introducing more foods high in protein the week after your event will accelerate this process such as beans, legumes, seeds and nuts. You'll probably demolish a massive steak within that week and it will taste the best it's ever tasted after a big event such as Coastrek or Oxfam Trailwalker.
3. Recover your muscles and your Gut
It's probably too soon to have the massive steak directly after finishing, as your Stomach and Digestive organs need time to come off its strict sugar and salt regime. It's likely to constipate you because it's hard to digest after a mostly fluid intake for the last 48hrs. So start with fluids eg. Protein drinks or shakes and ease into the foods after 24hrs. For supplementation advice or specific gut repair after eating things that you normally don't eg - sugar, high carb foods definitely see a Nutritionist to get back on track. Your gut will tell you if it's happy or not with potential signs of bloating, indigestion and diarrhoea or constipation.
4. Acupuncture for Inflammation & Tension
Acupuncture's natural anti-inflammatory actions are part of it's signature benefits. Tired and aching knees, ankle injuries, burdened shoulders from the backpack for that long can be released with some Acupuncture. For serious tendonitis or bursitis, Electro-acupuncture can be used for a stronger treatment. Acupuncture is also highly beneficial for the muscular tension built up over that long period of time on your feet, no matter where you feel it. Usually it's the weight loading joints such as the ankles, knees and hips. Katika our Acupuncturist has completed both Coastrek & Oxfam Trailwalker and has experience treating her clients who have also participated.
5. Osteopathy for a gentle realignment
Seeing an Osteopath for an assessment after your training sessions and event day is a must! The bulk of the backpack over 48 hrs takes its toll on your spine and posture. All of your weak spots in your body would have reared their ugly heads and let you know they are there. It's time to get realigned, put back into place and continue your recovery in as much comfort as possible. You want to see improvement in how you're feeling, not things getting worse after race day.
Also getting ankles and knees strapped for training and race day can help minimise the impact on joints and muscles. Race day you should be able to get your strapping redone at the physio tents at all checkpoints.
We can highly recommend Vanessa, our resident Osteopath for sports injuries, realignments and maintenance.
6. Magnesium is your saviour
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. Its one of the electrolytes you get to know so well on the trail when you're drinking it in your Camelbak. But for cramping that persists after training sessions or race day, you need to be taking higher doses of this. Cramping is an indication of Magnesium Deficiency and it's probably a sign that you weren't getting enough during your last training or on race day. You simply won't get enough via food intake for this level of cramping after Coastrek or Oxfam Trailwalker. So you need to supplement and you need to go with a powdered form - easy to consume and easily absorbed. You need to be taking it before bed and probably twice a day until cramps subside. We can recommend the Metagenics or Bioceuticals reange of Magnesium products as we get good feedback about them from clients.
7. Natural Anti-inflammatories
Turmeric for an oral anti-inflammatory is a good option. Getting bodywork as well as taking an oral anti-inflammatory is even better. For topicals, we have heard good feedback about Traumeel and Pain Away which are natural too.
So don't just suffer in silence. You've worked you body hard, now reward it with some TLC and patch yourself back together! Massage, Osteopathy, Acupuncture & Nutritional support are great ways to support your recovery process with minimal long term injuries. One is not enough, make sure you plan your treatments out in advance and get organised. Then relax knowing you've got recovery & repair down pat.
To make an appointment with our Practitioners at Family Wellness Centre, click here to book online right now.
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