Post-race recovery process
Amid the emotions, adrenaline and the cheering crowd, many of those taking part in the marathon or half-marathon this month are bound to push themselves to the limit to reach their pre-set goals.
As such, this challenge involves abnormal muscle contractions that can leave its repercussions on our bodies.
I mentioned last week the importance of rest and carbohydrate loading before February 24 but what do we need to do to recover adequately after the race?
Needless to say, once you enter the gantry at Sliema all you want to do is to lie down and rest. However, my advice is for all runners to resist this temptation and simply walk around for a few minutes so you can get the circulation back.
Notably, the major effect of recovery occurs within 24 hours of finishing the race.
As glycogen stores will be depleted, consuming carbohydrates within 30 minutes will ensure a more rapid recovery.
Research also shows that digesting some protein will speed up glycogen stores.
Admittedly, you might feel somewhat nauseous and food might be the last thing on your mind at the end of the race. But, in this case, try to digest something light, like a banana or even a salty snack, such as crisps or peanuts. Your appetite will definitely come back later on during the day, whereby you can keep on eating to replenish further.
Another important factor to note is dehydration. Most are still not aware of the amount of water and salts lost during long distance races.
It is interesting to note that a kilogramme of lost body weight is equivalent to a litre of fluid that needs to be replaced.
I must confess that I am one of those runners who, no matter what, always gain a couple of kilos before a marathon race but end up four kilos lighter... and the craving for salty food thereafter is intense.
To sum it up, in order to give your body a rest and your muscles enough time to recover, it is feasible to refrain from running the week after. Gentle cross training or a light gym workout can be introduced the following Thursday.
This year registration will be held at the Nike Store, The Point, at the following times:
Today from 19.00 to 21.30; Tomorrow from 16.00 to 19.30; and next Wednesday from 19.00 to 21.30.
Participants must register to collect their race number, timing chip, T-shirt and official race programme.
Meanwhile, pictures taken by Malta Marathon official photographers at the start, along the route and at the finish will automatically be uploaded on Facebook even while participants are still out on the route.
It is important that race numbers are visible at all times to make life easier for the photographers. One may obtain more details from race officials at registration headquarters this weekend.
Enjoy your running.