Great North Run 2011: 90-Day Half Marathon Recovery Tips PDF Print E-mail


Great North Run 2011:  90-Day Half Marathon Recovery Tips

Column #126, 13th August 2011

By now you hopefully have several effective ways of recovering and repairing quickly in-between training sessions in order to restore health and fitness in the short and long-term.  If not, read on and find out how to boost your recovery rates with a mix of quick, easy and cost-effective methods.

CHAPTER 5 EXCERPT – Half Marathon Conditioning Program

In truth if you haven’t already got a recovery strategy here’s where you can really make the difference.  This is where you probably need to focus to improve on last year’s race, or to be able to train harder without getting injured.  If you are someone who already has the motivation, determination and discipline to do complete all the running miles each week and carry out your strength and conditioning and even get the cross training sessions ticked off without fail…….then this is where you need to concentrate.  If you want all the above effort to come to its deserved fruition, then your motivation, determination and discipline to rest, recover, heal and repair is an unequivocal must.

Your 90-Day Program indicates a fantastic ‘what and when’ strategy to recovery.  Here is Chapter 5 to expand on the details:

Enhancing Sleep/Circadian Rhythm (SLEEP)

If you could do only one thing to boost your recovery time it would most definitely be to improve sleep quality.  Do you feel fresh when you get out of bed in the morning?  Good quality, restful sleep is a foundation of good health and one to embrace if you want to perform well in your training and on race day.  Furthermore it will be fundamental for post-race/training recovery.  I feel that it is worth offering such seemingly ‘obvious’ advice, because many people’s answer to the above question is “no” and this may be a major cause of dysfunction and below-par performance.

Alarmingly, this tired, lethargic and fatigued feeling is often considered the norm.  It seems strange that after several hours of lying down doing nothing, we would get up and actually feel sluggish and possibly worse than when we went to bed.  Of course sometimes this is self-inflicted, but for those of you who struggle to wind-down at night, get to bed on time, fail to sleep when the head hits the pillow, wake during the night, there are steps you can take to make changes.

So how can we get a good quality and restful night’s sleep?

Let’s consider the ideal situation.  Your body follows a natural circadian (daily) rhythm that dictates when you should go to sleep and wake up.  Whilst this may be slightly individual and even seasonal, ideally you will be asleep by 10.30pm and arise at around 6.30am.  Whilst this may vary slightly, these times are important as they coincide with hormonal levels that control various functions in your body during the night.  So if we are not soundly asleep and we stay up late or we wake up frequently we will not physically and psychologically repair and detoxify efficiently or wake up fresh and energized.

Given our culture (working hours, shift patterns, socialising, late-night TV etc) we experience a lot of disruption to this rhythm that we have naturally evolved to.  Disruption will most likely cause a breakdown in your function in some way or other (energy, performance, concentration, mood, injury, rehab, illness).

Encouragingly, there are many actions you can take to restore your sleep, including nutritional timing and content, relaxation methods, breathing techniques, hormonal balance, stress management and herbal and nutritional supplements.  The approach taken all depends on the causes that are specific to you and you will benefit from investigating these further.

*Breathing workshop and Relaxation workshop available in the Full eBook.

Active Recovery, light walking (ACTIVE)

Movement is fantastic, is the essence of life and vitality and enables your body will heal faster.  It is important is that you don’t just stop and do nothing.  Enhance recovery rates by doing light exercise, such as walking.  This way you will help your body regulate itself, increase delivery of nutrients to tissues and enhance the rate of removal of toxins.  Missing this out will lead to slower recovery times.

Energy Exercises (ENERGY)

The principle of an energy exercise is that on performing it, you are able to cultivate more energy as opposed to using it up and breaking the body down.  This is the difference between working IN and working OUT.  During your recovery periods, the more energy you can cultivate, the more healing and repair your body can do.  Hopefully you can see that the beauty of all these recovery strategies is that they are cheap, quick and easy to do and accumulate to have a powerful effect on recovery rates.

The secret is to just change the focus, emphasis and intention of the execise.  Here’s what you do:  Slow the movement down, breathe deeply and smoothly with the movement, use your diaphragm to pull the air into your lungs.  As you move try to focus on a smooth flowing action.  If you notice any aches, tension or tightness at any point or in any tissue, then it is your job to try and relax further, be positive and allow the tension to disappear.

Epsom Salts Bath (EPSOM)

Epsom Salts are Magnesium Sulphate Heptahydrate (MgSO4·7H2O), which some believe has the ability to relax tissue and increase the detoxification processes.  In a hot/warm bath add 2 cups of Epsom Salt and bathe for about 20minutes.  Ensure that you only use a Chemically Pure Grade (FCC). As with all the content in this article you should always consult your health care professional before applying new methods.

Sports Massage (MASSAGE)

Most people will be aware of the beneficial effects of a Sports Massage.  Getting hands-on treatment to relax muscles and soft tissues and help speed up waste product removal rates, can dramatically increase your performance.  You may already have a practitioner with who you get regular massages with, which is great – now pick up the phone and book your next massage.  If you are new to it and want a sports massage with someone who has experience of working with athletes, then please contact me for a referral.

Self Myofascial Release (FASCIA)

Here, movement, flexibility and strength will be improved by releasing the tissues around the joint including fascia, tendons, muscles and ligaments.  Myofascial Release is best performed by a trained therapist (and I can point you in the right direction), however foam rollers may have a use in maintaining tissue health between sessions.  Using the foam roller on a muscle can identify a tender or tight spot that may release when the pressure is held for around 30-45seconds.  The key is to carry out the technique appropriately and avoid the most tender areas and without using a rolling-pin action.  Effective, regular use can reduce tension and knots allowing for stronger, freer movement.

Great North Run Training 2011

These tips are perfect if you are training for a half marathon such as the Great North Run in September 2011.  Each week will progress your running fitness towards your goal and help prevent injury.  The daily tips are free to follow on Facebook (Running Conditioning) and there will be free Special Reports to download during the program.


90-Day Running Conditioning Program

Free Daily Conditioning Tips for all FB Fans

First 50 People get 50% off.

Great North Run Conditioning Facebook Page


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Jack Walton
Written on Friday, 12 August 2011 00:00 by Jack Walton

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