Self Myofascial Release
Myofascial release is a must for any runner regardless of whether you are a beginner clocking up 10kms a week or an advanced athlete clocking up 200kms.
Foam rolling and trigger ball style products allow you to use self massage (myofascial release) techniques to lengthen and reduce built up tension in the muscles. They can help to speed up the recovery process and therefore help you get back to quality training faster.
I recommend foam rolling at least 3 times a week along with a targeted mysofacial stretching routine.
Self mysofacial stretching is a targeted way of stretching and releasing tension and trigger points that occur when muscle or connective tissue become stuck together by tightness therefore restricting movement. This may happen because of injury, postural issues, repetitive motion or from too much time spent hunched over at your desk.
It's important to minimise muscular and skeletal imbalances prior to participating in an endurance event as the last thing you want is to have your feet start to drag mid run.
Believe it or not, nutrition is almost as important as training when it comes to prep and recovery as giving your body sufficient fuel and nutrients for optimal performance is imperative.
Post run, you need to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet of protein, carbs, fats and antioxidants (of course) to replenish the nutrients that you have lost and to enable your body to recover.
Pre- race, the goal is to ensure that you have even energy levels so you are not peaking and dipping mid run. If you are struggling with your energy levels, recovery or gut health, consider seeing a health professional who can assist.
There have been hundreds of studies done on compression and its many benefits when it comes to performance and recovery. In fact a recent study on 11 subjects using a MRI to demonstrate the muscle changes during recovery found significant improvements in enzymes involved in muscle membrane restoration after only 1 hour of wearing SKINS.
Wearing high grade compression can help to accelerate the body's natural recovery process, helping you recover to the point of the same or greater performance levels, faster. They also promote blood flow, support the muscles and boost the recovery process from the get go.
I wear compression when I am training as I find that it helps reduce my soreness post workout. If I have an event coming up, I also wear my tights and long sleeve top to bed in the weeks leading up to the event.
Furthermore, having the right gear can make all the difference in your preparation and your performance on race day. The last thing you want is your shorts riding up or shirt rubbing 5kms into your half marathon…. I’ve had to learn that the hard way in the past!
Keeping hydrated is critical, both during your entire training program, during the race and for recovery however depending on the distance that you are planning to run, only relying on water may not be enough.
Drinking too much water can damage the balance of electrolytes in your body which itself can cause muscle fatigue and cramping. To keep the right balance consider sipping on an electrolyte drink or coconut water. Try to avoid products with lots of artificial sweeteners or additives as they can be bad for your gut.
As mentioned above, its really important to stretch out your body on a regular basis and I like to do that by adding yoga into my week.
If you are someone who does a fair amount of running or resistance training, you may find that you get a lactic acid build up that can make your legs feel like lead and that your muscles often feel very tight. Yoga will help you stretch everything back out, improve your flexibility, mobility and assist with recovery.
Even if you don’t train a lot, keep in mind that many of us spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk, which can lead to hunched shoulders as well as tight hip flexors. Furthermore, if you are an instagram lover, you are probably also craning your neck for a good portion of the day as well.
Yoga may help correct some of the negative habitual movement patterns that you find yourself in, making it a great option for the desk bound as well
Did you know that sleep is the most important time for your recovery?
If you're fairly active, on average your body needs 7-10 hours of sleep a night to help your body to recover physically, mentally and on a hormonal level.
Not getting enough can reap havoc on your body body as it can mess with your leptin hormone which is the one that tells you when you're full and Ghrelin which is the hormone that tells you when your hungry. That means you eat more and feel less full. Disaster!