Hello! It's me....................oh, that's starting to sound a bit like a song. Anyway, I've only once experienced running a marathon - although I would like to perhaps do one more at some point, so I know how it feels when you get to the end and you've managed to run 26.2 miles (that 0.2 miles is probably THE most important and hardest bit of the whole damn race!). For now though, the annual London marathon is getting ever closer and the big day is nearly here.
When you complete the race, you have that amazing feeling of euphoria and achievement and then the muscles start saying "hold on, wait a sec, we're not moving anymore" and then they promptly want to fall right off to sleep because they're totally knackered and then that's when you start to stiffen up and start walking like the tin man. Now, I'm not going to say I'm a movement expert and can tell you exactly what you should do afterwards - what I will say is that there is a plethora of information out there - good and bad.
Ice bath? Hot bath? Lie and do nothing? Stretch? Go for a gentle jog the next morning? It's a mine field isn't it? What's the right thing to do? What's the totally wrong thing to do? I think it's very personal - your number of years experience of being a runner, what your training's been like, how good you feel, what works for you as an individual etc etc. For me, I know for the most part I did the wrong things after the race was over i.e. I completely rested up and didn't run again for quite a while afterwards. Totally the wrong thing to do as I felt like I'd just gone right back to square one. Actually, what I should have done was kept up the gentle stretching, started out with some walks and perhaps some light jogs and then gone on from there. I'd heard somewhere that you should take off one day for each mile you've run - e.g. 26 days. Me being me, I took this advice quite literally, didn't run for a whole month and when I started again, let's just say it wasn't pretty.
Anyway, enough about me. The one thing I did do properly both before and after the race was have a regular sports massage routine. Beforehand I went once a week for half an hour on my legs and then in the two weeks prior to the race I went twice a week, my last massage being around three days before the race itself. I felt amazing on the day I have to say even though the marathon I ran was a tough one. I put it down to good training (obviously) but also regular massage. It kept me injury free and helped keep my muscles and deep tissues in tip top condition. And just as important, I went back after the race and continued with the massage. I can't reiterate how beneficial this can be for your post race/event recovery and can get you back to normal much more quickly and effectively. No one likes the John Wayne look really do they? Of course this information and advice clearly applies to all sports and endurance events but for the purposes of this post, I'll stick with the marathon theme.
So here's my advice...............................
Before the big day, try to have a massage a few days before the race (about 3 days before is ideal). I can get your muscles prepared for the event and ensure that any little last minute niggles are addressed and that you're good to go. On the day - if you do get the chance then then please, please, please have a post marathon massage. If you're running for a charity then most of them offer post race massage - it's normally around 15 - 20 mins and can help tremendously. Apart from anything else, it'll give you a few moments to bring yourself back down to earth and relax/sleep or have a chat with the therapist - whatever you feel like doing is fine (most of us love to hear about your experience and any marathon stories you have to tell). It'll also give you the opportunity to start absorbing just exactly what you've managed to achieve. Then in the days following the marathon, book yourself in and come to see me to help re-energise those tired muscles, sore feet, stiff shoulders, achey hips & lower back and get you back to training again as soon as possible. There are many positive effects from massage. Too numerous to mention them all here but they include relaxing and stretching the deep tissues, getting rid of any knots, stimulating blood flow to encourage more nutrients to help repair the muscles, helping with that heavy feeling in the muscles after an endurance event. And if you are unfortunate enough to have picked up an injury then don't worry, massage can help with the recovery and repair process and get you on the road to normality again sooner. Even if you haven't had any massages during your training (naughty!) it can still help. I know people can be superstitious pre race and don't like to change their routines just in case something goes wrong but trust me when I say that massage will always help and will not hinder. If you're unsure and would like to talk through things before coming in then please drop me an email or give me a call - I'm always happy to have a chat and give reassurance where needed.
And now here's my offer.......................
On the week commencing Monday the 25th of April, I'm knocking 25% off my regular price for a 1 hour treatment slot and you'll pay £30 instead of £40. If you, or any friends/family are doing the marathon and you want to book in then please get in touch. I'll be available at the clinic (Borough Green Physiotherapy). Call or email me to arrange a suitable appointment time. I look forward to seeing you and hearing all your stories.