The rules of recovery
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney
To those of you who completed the Berlin Marathon last weekend, congratulations! It is still kind of amazing to think that we’re back to racing Abbott World Marathon Majors after such a long absence but the spirit of running is returning across the globe. I can feel it.
With three more Majors coming up this month, it’s only getting stronger. I can’t wait to see tens of thousands of enthusiastic runners hitting the streets in London, Chicago and Boston.
As we run away from summer and into the fall marathon season in the northern hemisphere, our distance isn’t the only thing changing. The mornings are crisper, the evenings are cooler and the days are shorter (depending on where you live, of course).
However, it’s important to remember that even when you’re not sweating profusely or feeling the heat of the sun with every step, you still need to stay well hydrated with plenty of fluids during your long runs.
And while it may be tempting to lounge around in all your layers after you run, do yourself a favor and take them off, hop into a warm shower and put on some fresh, dry clothes as quickly as possible. Lingering about in cold, sweaty spandex chills your body, which can contribute to poor recovery or worse, weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to acquiring an illness.
Another recovery reminder: It’s well known (but always worth mentioning!) that consuming a combination of protein and carbs shortly after (30 minutes, max) a hard training session can also help speed up your recovery.
The carbs will be stored in your muscle cells and liver to be used as fuel for your next workout, and the protein will be used to repair damaged muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons, plus replenish hormones that are used to maintain homeostasis.
My go-to meal after a long run is French toast—it's got bread for carbs, eggs for protein, and I add a few different types of fruit on top for some added vitamins and minerals.
And speaking of breakfast… In mid-September, I had a wonderful marathon training chat (live on Facebook) with Lorna from the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and one of the questions that kept popping up from runners who are training for races this fall was about their coffee consumption. This is a topic I discuss regularly with my athletes, and the burning questions seem to be the same year after year.
Can I have my afternoon coffee? Do I need to cut back on my coffee consumption during training, or the taper phase of marathon training? Should I give coffee up altogether? Here are my thoughts:
When your metabolism is sky-high during marathon training, your body is actually able to process caffeine much more effectively (wahoo!). But during the taper period, your metabolism gradually comes down by design, and your ability to metabolize caffeine weakens.
Therefore, it makes sense for you to try and consume less caffeine during the last few weeks leading into your marathon. This may also help you sleep better and start the race feeling fresh.
Best of luck to everyone out there dreaming about their upcoming marathon. I’ll be cheering for you!
Join us for another live session with Andrew on Facebook on Wednesday at 11am ET, 4PM UK time.