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Half-Marathon Recovery Guide - The Rest of Your Day

"The Rest of the Day Try to get back to where you’re staying as soon as possible to relax, shower and rehydrate. If you’re not yet completely sick of sports drinks, have one! It will provide you with some vitamins, a bit of protein (please check that protein is included in the ingredients), and some needed calories in the form of carbohydrates that will help your blood sugar return to normal. Light foods that are easy to digest—especially vegetables and fruits like oranges and bananas—also will help nourish your body and speed up your recovery, not only by providing you with calories but also with necessary minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. A short stroll will help your muscles recover and is a much smarter choice than doing nothing at all. A brief walk is almost the equivalent of the cool down that may have helped you after a shorter event like a 5K. It will help get your blood flowing while starting the process of tissue repair. After your walk, if you can arrange it, a light massage would be ideal. Just be sure to tell the therapist to be very gentle since the purpose is just to get your blood flowing and the toxins out of—and nutrients into—your muscles. After running a marathon, try to keep in mind the so-called “recovery window.” This is the period immediately after prolonged exercise, when the muscle enzymes that support glycogen production—the primary fuel your muscles relied on during the race—are elevated. Therefore, the best things to eat right after a marathon to replenish your muscles’ energy stores are similar to what you ate before. This means placing an emphasis on easily digested carbohydrates. The sooner you are able to take in these calories, the more glycogen your body will produce, and the sooner your muscles return to their normal state. During the first 30 to 45 minutes after you cross the finish line—the prime recovery window—your muscles can absorb 50% more glycogen than at any other time. Research has shown that a little protein—post-exercise—helps your muscles absorb more glycogen (at a ratio 4:1, that means four parts carbohydrates to one part protein). During this time, when your stomach may be still a little unsettled, a good choice would be a smoothie at room temperature because—it is easily digested, has some protein, and is rich of carbohydrates. For your first larger meal, consider replacing lost carbohydrates with whole-grain pasta, basmati rice, whole-grain bagels, oatmeal or other foods that are slow to digest. During the marathon, blood flow was largely shunted away from your stomach to working muscles. So give your digestive system some time to return to its normal working condition. It’s usually better to snack a little bit the rest of the day than to sit down to one large meal. Once you sense your stomach is back to normal, you might notice a desire for your favorite dessert. If ever there was a time to indulge your sweet tooth, this is it! (Have I mentioned cheesecake yet?) Of course, it is up to you to decide how much of this advice, if any, you want to take. After the marathon, it may be difficult to remember much. You may be tempted to simply grab a bag of chips and head for the couch. We all have those moments. But this could delay your recovery for days. It is easy to misjudge certain decisions after completing such a tremendous effort as a marathon. So, making the best choices during the time right after your race can be very helpful for your recovery! It not only will affect how you feel when you return to running, but also how you will feel at home and at work in the coming week. During the first evening after the race, you might be wound up and unable to sleep much. That is normal and perfectly okay. If that happens, try reflecting on your amazing accomplishment rather than stressing out because you are not able to fall asleep. Another benefit of having a massage soon after the marathon is that it may help you sleep by relaxing your nervous system (which has probably been on overdrive since the night before the marathon!)."
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Running Tips for People Who Hate Running
I always wanted to be the girl in the cute leggings that you see running near the beach while you're in your car driving to get super fattening burritos. But I just couldn't do it. Running was something that I really hated even in elementary school. Once I got serious about fitness though, I realised I had to change! So here are my tips (from a girl that hates running!) on how to become a runner! - Take it slow. Find your own pace. Starting on a treadmill first helps and and will get you working towards a faster speed. - Run in intervals. You aren't going to run 5 miles straight the first time. Plus, interval training is great for your metabolism! Try alternating between walking for a minute and then running for a minute. Find your comfort zone. - Always wear running shoes: Not all sneakers are created equally. Check out your local shoe store and make sure your current pair is a good running shoe. You don't want to injure yourself! - Watch your breathing: Side cramps are no pleasant and simple breathing helps you avoid it! Periodically, take a deep breath in through your nose and a big exhale out of your mouth. This will help get your breathing under control. - Listen to your favorite music: Running playlists are SO important! They motivate you to keep going and help you find the right pace. - Know when to stop: Don't push yourself too hard. Know your limits and don't push them too far. You want to challenge yourself, but not hurt yourself.. - Run with friends: Most activities are more fun with others, and running is no exception. Your friends can encourage you to keep going and to run just a little bit further. Just don't go out for ice cream afterwards!
Tips for New Runners
1. Keep it consistent: If you stop running for a while, then you'll have to build your conditioning back up. So set yourself a schedule and stick to it! This doesn't mean running the same place and pace everyday, but just be sure to run somewhere, somehow consistently. 2. Learn proper form: Just like any exercise, if you aren't in the right position it just won't have the same results. When running, keep your head over your spine, relax the shoulders, and engage your abs. Bad running form is a common cause of injury. 3. Dress the part: Everyone loves cute running attire - for good reason. There's no need to invest in anything fancy, but be sure to put some thought into a good pair of shoes. They can be the difference between a good run and an injury. 4. Fuel right: Running on an empty stomach can keep you from having the right amount of energy, but eating too much can lead to cramping. So where is that middle ground?! Try peanut butter toast (one slice!) at least 15 minutes before running. 5. Drink water: Hydration, hydration, hydration! If you don't drink enough water before your run (as well as during), then chances are you'll have to stop before you'd like to because of fatigue or a cramp. 6. Have a plan: It's not all about consistency; you should also keep your body challenged. Plan on doing these new kinds of runs, but be sure to incorporate easy runs into your weekly plan as well. 7. Do more than run: Don't limit yourself to the trails or treadmills. There are many things you can do when you aren't running that can help you, like stretching after every run, strength training regularly, and getting enough sleep!
My Advice For Beginning Runners
Running is one of the best exercises out there. It works your entire body, from your legs to your core. It even works your mind! You’ll need both physical and mental discipline to become a great runner, but even so, it’s easier than you think – and a lot of fun. Painful yet rewarding fun. ;) As someone who ran competitively for several years in high school, and subsequently took up running as a hobby, I wanted to share my tips for beginning runners. It’s one of those things that’s a little tricky at the beginning, but once you make it a habit, it becomes easier and easier. Starting a running program can be a little intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. You might not know where to start. Here’s what I recommend. Getting Started 1.) Make sure you have a very supportive pair of shoes. Most people invest pretty significantly in their running sneakers. If you don’t want to drop $100 on shoes you’re not sure you’ll use, maybe start running first, and then buy the shoes once you’re certain to continue. 2.) Start by running 3 times a week for 20 minutes. If you can make it all the way to end of 20 minutes without stopping, great! But if that sounds a little intimidating, then I recommend starting with a walk-run. I wrote a whole card on the amazing wonders of the walk-run, which you can read here! 3.) Don’t get discouraged if it’s hard. It’s going to be hard for the first three weeks or so. It’ll probably feel like death, actually. And it’s normal to be really sore or have weird, unexpected aches and pains. Running works a lot of small muscles you didn’t even know you had. Just stick with it. Next Steps Once you get used to running three times a week (this might take anywhere from one to three weeks), bump it up to four or five times a week. This is when you’ll really start to reap the benefits – running every to every other day feels sooo good! You’ll start to find you have more energy, and feel happier and more in touch with your body. That’s one of my favorite benefits of running – I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin, and proud of what my body can do. It feels good to realize you’re so much stronger than you thought. You can gradually increase the time you’re running when you’re ready, too. I like to increase by 5 minutes a week. And then you should start researching weekly running plans, interval workouts, and sprint workouts – whatever interests you, really! There are a lot of ways to introduce variety into your workouts to keep things interesting. ;) A typical week might look like this: Monday: 25 min. interval workout Tuesday: 45 min. long slow run Wednesday: 30 min. run Thursday: Rest day Friday: 25 min. interval workout Saturday: 1 hour long slow run Sunday: Rest day Sticking With It Don’t let any excuse deter you from your goal. Even though it hurts, the rewards are so much greater than whatever relaxation or comfort you’ll derive from spending half an hour on the couch. And when the urge to stop strikes right in the middle of your workout – because it definitely will – just keep pushing through. Check out my tips for pushing through your workout here. Feel free to leave any questions I haven’t answered in the comments below! I’d be happy to help in whatever way I can. Running has really improved my life, so if I can spread that positive energy to others, then all the better. :)