Well in excess of 30,000 people will be waking up this morning feeling even more sluggish than normal for a Monday. The London Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 22nd April, will have pushed all participants to their limits, causing all kinds of pain, from the joints to the lower back, after 26.2 miles of pounding the pavements.
BCA chiropractor and Marathon runner, Ulrik Sandstrom, comments on the strains of running such a monumental distance and explains how to minimise the inevitable discomfort in the aftermath.
“The atmosphere of the London Marathon is phenomenal and is what enables thousands of participants to push themselves harder than ever. Obviously, this is great in that it helps many reach the finish line, however the adrenaline rush also means that some people are pushing themselves too hard and not listening to their body’s natural resistance – and often it is only afterwards that the damage is revealed. Stopping at the first sign of pain certainly during training is important, though at a major race or event such as London Marathon it’s obviously not that feasible and runners need to persevere through various forms of pain. They will pay for it, but the thrill of finishing is worth it!'
For a safe and effective wind-down after the race, Sandstrom suggests the following classic tips:
· Don’t Stop Moving: Keep gently mobile, e.g. regular walking for 5-10 minutes. It is the last thing you feel like doing but remaining static should be avoided at all costs.
· Ice, Ice, Baby: For specific injuries such as problems with joints, applying ice is recommended. This is most effective when done immediately but still works when applied in the days following the race.
· The Heat is On: A hot bath is ideal for strained muscles and overall rejuvenation. After all, the Marathon is physically and emotionally draining, so it makes sense to relax and literally bathe in your glory!
· Food For Thought: Snack regularly on food, ideally that is high carbohydrate, low fat, some protein, (e.g. tuna sandwich) and drink lots of fluids - the London Marathon organisers will have 750,000 33cl bottles of water available for runners - so make sure you take some one board! Sports drinks and gels will also be avilable, so watch out for these at the feed stations en-route. After finishing, refrain from drinking alcohol until fully rehydrated.
Sandstrom continues, “And for those who want to have a go at London Marathon 2013, having watched in awe from their TV sets or the sidelines (or for repeat Marathon runners!), the trick really is in the training. You might want to consider chiropractic treatment as a way of monitoring your progress as you train, as this way no ‘niggle’ is left to develop into a more serious injury. Having regular check-ups really helped my overall fitness development as any slight pain I experienced was immediately addressed and fixed. For example, my hamstring was causing me pain and it turned out that my pelvis needed some chiropractic treatment. If I hadn’t had the problem solved straight away, who knows what state I would have been in after 26 miles.”