A high percentage of runners at this time of the years are either training for a strenuous goal or are running tough races. Many feel confident during their training, but don't know what to do afterward. Unfortunately, many work too hard and get injured after these hard efforts. Others decide that they don't need to run at all for a while and lose the great conditioning they have produced.
Right after a hard run, don't stop! Even if you have a lot of aches and fatigue from your effort, keep moving! Walking for at least 10 minutes will help the heart pump blood out of the muscles--removing waste products. At the same time, fresh blood brings oxygen and nutrients. Standing around, after a tiring workout, can be very stressful to the heart.
If you suspect that you have an injury—get help. The major signs are inflammation, loss of function, and pain. Usually walking will not aggravate a running injury, but be careful. As you walk, sip 4-6 oz of fluid.
The first half hour after a hard effort is prime time for reloading. Research supports eating or drinking 200-300 calories of a fluid or a snack that has 80% simple carbohydrate and 20% protein during this period. By reloading the glycogen stores more effectively, you will have more energy the next time you exercise. Avoid eating fat for at least an hour after exercise. The product Endurox R4 has this 4-1 ratio in the mix and has been a very effective reloading product.
Continue to drink about 6-8 oz of water or sports drink, about every hour. Accelerade has been shown by research to restore fluid levels more quickly than water or another sports drink.
The next day, walk for 30-60 minutes. You can do this at one time, or in several segments throughout the day. If you keep moving, you will continue to pump blood through the system.
Two days after your hard effort, add some short running segments to your walks. Make it easy on yourself. Start by running for 10-15 seconds and walking for 45-60 seconds. After 10-15 minutes, if you feel up to it, you could increase the amount of running and decrease the amount of walking. Some do 30 sec/30 sec, some move up to 1-3 min of running/1 min of walking. Others stay with 10 sec/50 seconds. As mentioned above, don’t push a muscle if it might be injured.
Continue to walk one day, and run-walk-run ™ the next day. Stay below the threshold of aggravation. Don’t do any fast running for at least the number of days that equal the number of miles of the race. After a 10K, run easy for at least a week.
There’s lots more info on this topic, with nutrition information, in GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS, YEAR ROUND PLAN, HALF MARATHON, A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO RUNNING and my other books. These can be ordered, autographed from my website: www.JeffGalloway.com.
Enjoy your running!
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