You have just completed one of the toughest races on the sports calendar.
A true test of the physiological limits of the human body. Some managed to break their previous record. Others had to overcome psychological and physical barriers just to get to the finish line. Others failed to cross the line this time. Be that as it may, just participating in such a grueling event makes you a champion.
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As a charitable organization, the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) had the well-being of runners in mind as they tended to the queue of limping participants at the finish line and the cordoned off tent where physiotherapy services were offered. The tireless contribution of qualified physiotherapists and students along the way brought the necessary respite to the runners. In case you don’t find a moment to stop at the physio tent, the SASP have provided some indications on how to best recover.
So put those running shoes away and take some time to focus on taking care of yourself. Here are some tips and tricks from the South African Society of Physiotherapy to help your body and mind recover.
1. Get enough rest and sleep
You completed a vigorous training regimen and 12 hours of intense racing. Now you need to give your body time to recover, especially if you’ve been experiencing extreme pain and fatigue. Sleep is the key to muscle repair and allowing the body to reset itself. Then hit the pillow and make your eyes close.
2. Pay attention to potential injuries
Check that you have not been injured during the race. If you have encountered a problem, consult a physio for advice on how to best manage and support your injury.
3. Satisfy your muscle needs
While you may feel ready to start immediately, your muscles may not. A good sports massage will help your muscles recover. If possible, book a massage with a physio to treat any muscle tension you may have after the race.
4. Avoid running for now
Before you think about running again, give yourself enough time to recover. If active recovery works best for you, try swimming or other low-impact activities instead.
5. Start planning next year’s marathon
If you weren’t one of the winners, you will probably want to take up the challenge again. Between now and next year, take some time to reflect on your performance, which areas you can improve on and which ones to work on. By effectively planning your race in advance, you will already be in a better position when the next marathon arrives.
6. Listen to your body
While these tips are helpful for most people, the fact remains that our bodies are different and therefore recover differently. Hence, the best strategy is to listen to your body and satisfy its needs. Determine how quickly you can recover.