This article addresses the aftermath of running 4-5k’s and 10k’s, thus being most beneficial for beginners and intermediate runners. For half-marathoners and marathoners, this shall still be an interesting read but you may already be doing some of the stuff mentioned. The references are local to Powai, Mumbai but applies to pretty much any organized run.
Rest, not Rejoice
Stating the obvious good news first, you should rest for a couple of days. Running midst a crowd is more challenging not just physically but mentally too as people put more efforts on the D day as compared to practice runs. But this doesn’t mean you should just chill out and watch TV/try and find your running pic on FB pages. Often times, people are very sore from their runs on the next day. Hence, It’s a great idea to go for a walk for the same time. As you amble through a light walk, it increases blood circulation in that area and hence promotes faster recovery.
Similarly, with food, you did burn a lot of calories (700-800 Kcal, assuming a 1 hour pace for a 70 Kg male running a 10k) and your body needs to replenish itself too. So you should definitely give yourself a treat (a high protein & potassium treat, just our recommendation). But the celebrations should not spill over into cheat days and weeks. That means no hovering around Haagen Dazs or Theobroma at all. Here’s a good article on why you cannot out-exercise your diet. Seeing a McDonalds stall for a morning run in the middle of Central Avenue was strange. Who eats a burger after a run in the morning?
Improve Your Technique
It is ironical to see that runners, being probably one of the most passionate about their sport, work so less on their technique as compared to other athletes. Somehow, running is considered “natural” and yet so many people ran with cringe-worthy form (#YouOnlyRunOnce) while dashing the last few meters of a declining Cliff Avenue towards the finish line.
Our sincerest request for all those is to focus more on improving your running form instead of buying costlier knee supports. Focus more on your feet than your shoes. Here’s a good read to know more about the best shoes. Here’s another one to tell you more about how to comprehend what your feet are telling you. Yes, running is natural, to a fully functioning human being. But, our sedentary lifestyles, high sole shoes, tight yet weak musculature and cramped-up posture make us quite different. We need maintenance on our body. So go on, you celebrate on your improved run-time, we celebrate when our clients finish the races with better technique (less pain & injuries, more smiles).
Planning the Next Race Already?
This depends a lot on your experience as a runner. If your mileage per week is less than 30 km, we suggest not to plan anything big like a half/full marathon for the next 3 months. Instead, in addition to improving your technique, try adding an activity which is different from running in terms of the fitness factors it focuses on (read more about critical fitness factors here and here). Yes, endurance is a key contributor) in anyone’s overall fitness. But, add some strength training (min. 2 days/week) if you aren’t going to the gym already. There are many studies like this showing resistance training is pretty beneficial for endurance runners. Many girl runners shy off but heavy resistance training improves running economy and performance in girls as demonstrated in this study. It is even beneficial if you’re still winging it in your 40′s and 50′s as concluded in this experimental study. If you don’t like the gym, that’s fine. Heritage Garden or the Hiranandani Park offers plenty of options for bodyweight workouts.
If you’re already a gym junkie, try shifting your focus to increasing joint mobility. Often times, flexibility and mobility drills are limited to just leg swings and thigh stretches, that too, done half heartedly with compromised technique. To get you going, read this trick to fix your hamstring stretch and check out this article to fix your tight hip flexors (most overabused muscles for runners).
For those with more mileage under their belt and experience of doing other forms of training, we suggest dropping off some mileage and try high intensity intervals for a couple of weeks. That can come in utterly torturing forms like sprinting uphill (great place to do it is the incline stretch leading to Supreme Business Park) or fun forms like playing football. There are many studies like this which support performance benefits of interval training for endurance runners.
There are many other things that we can talk about. We could have talked about elaborate planning of your next big run, but the things listed above often go unaddressed. So that’s it, folks. We hope this article serves as a pondering point for your future fitness goals ad helps you plan them smartly instead of just following the crowd. Our hearty congrats to all those who put efforts to complete their runs.