Common Mistakes Marathoners Make, and How To Best Recover After Your Marathon
The Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2013 is shaping up to be one of the largest running events in Singapore, and we do expect to see fresh faces running their very first marathon on race day. But running a marathon requires proper preparation and training.
Dr. Frankie Tan is the Head of Sports Physiology at Singapore Sports Council (SSC), and is responsible for the planning and implementation of Sports Physiology services at the Sport Science Centre. He is also the Covering Head of the Nutrition Unit of the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI). He shares common mistakes that people make while training, and how to ensure proper recovery after crossing the finish line.
Top 7 Mistakes Marathoners Make While Training
Running a marathon is not a decision to be taken lightly. Before signing up for a marathon, runners have to consider a wide range of factors in order to be at their best possible condition to race. Here are the top 7 mistakes that you have to look out for before making the commitment to sign up.
- Signing up for a race without considering your lifestyle - Leading to insufficient time to train. Unrealistic timeframe will lead to frustration, disappointment and injury.
- Running too much – Overly eager to run therefore piling up mileage too fast leading to injury.
- Not having sufficient weekly long runs – This is critical in helping the runner complete the race distance, as well as helping the runner achieve a set goal time.
- No training plan – Training isn’t planned and progressive, leading to under-/over-training, poor performance and injury.
- Not tapering sufficiently – Increasing mileage all the way up to race day leading to insufficient “freshness” on race day (Form = Fitness + Freshness)
- Inappropriate goal – Rookies should not necessarily set a finish time goal, but rather aim to finish the race, or set the wrong goal time.
- Lack of knowledge – Linked to all the above mistakes, such as insufficient homework/ research/ advice before signing up for a race; treating it too lightly and therefore ill prepared to train well.
You’ve managed just finished your marathon. Congratulations! In order to ensure the quickest recovery, follow these tips immediately after your race:
- Keep walking/moving around after you finish, for at least a few minutes.
- Eat and drink within the first 30-60 min post-race albeit in small portions if appetite is not good, to replenish glycogen and fluid losses during the race and for muscle repair. Eat a BIGGER meal when the appetite returns hours later.
- Cold bath is good to reduce inflammation.
- Wearing compression tights may also help to reduce inflammation.
- Stretch and massage within 24 hours post-race.
While your recovery depends on various factors, such as race intensity, fitness status, training seasons and more, you should not resume training immediately after a marathon. Here are a few things to take note in the first month following your completion of a marathon:
- The best way to recover is to not aggravate it by going out for a run the next day. Take the day to celebrate, schedule a massage and do some light walking and stretching.
- One Week Post Race – Short, light effort, low impact cross-training activities to facilitate circulation and aid in the recovery/healing process.
- Second Week Post Race – Start slow. Have short and easy runs if your body feels well.
- Third Week Post Race – Start running longer and a little faster, but not to your usual distances yet.
- Fourth Week Post Race – If all feels well, you can resume your normal distance and intensity.
Prepare Properly, Run Your Best
In order to enjoy a marathon, all you need is a small amount of commitment. These steps are for you to get a basic practical understanding of what it takes for you to run a pain-free marathon, and how to recover properly in the weeks after finishing.
Do you have more race precautions or recovery tips? Share them with us on the comments below!