I am not an endurance runner. I can honestly say that I NEVER want to run a marathon. Ever. Not even a half marathon. I do think that running is a good form of cardiovascular exercise, when brief. I personally think that no living thing on this earth was created to sustain running over long distances. It just isn’t normal. But then again, what is normal? Perhaps this is why thousands of runners are motivated and strive to accomplish this incredible feat!
That being said, my husband is an endurance runner. He has completed two marathons and I have been witness to both his training and recovery. Most marathon runners have a good grasp on the nutrition that their body requires during training as well as which training schedule will get them to their goal in the safest way possible. Most endurance athletes also have a tool box filled with remedies to care for their bodies during high intensity training.
So, what does marathon running do to the body?
During a marathon, a runner’s body goes through some significant changes to cope with the physiological and metabolic demands from prolonged exercise. The runner is breathing faster and deeper, the heart is pumping more blood and faster, too! Blood moves away from organs in order to support increased demands of muscle tissue and is also altered based on hormone concentration. Electrolytes can become unbalanced and if not cared for properly, the issue can become life threatening. Of course, all of this is transient and if an endurance athelete employs a proper recovery protocol, within a few days, all is well again.
So, just how does an athlete support their body in order to mitigate the side effects of high intensity training? As I mentioned above, most athletes have a tool box of remedies to care for their bodies. Of course, some may use one or two, others may use all of them.
Bone Broths and other anti-inflammatory foods
Bone broth is an incredibly healing food. Not only is it loaded with vitamins and minerals, it also contains gelatin. Gelatin is excellent for bone and joint health and can help with inflammation. Another great anti-inflammatory is turmeric. Make a tea, add it to smoothies, cook with it, get creative! Other great anti inflammatory foods include, ginger, pineapple, cruciferous veggies, berries, lemons, fatty fish, and avocados.
During training, runners can get regular massage. Massage not only relaxes tight muscles, it also encourages the movement of fresh blood and lymphatic fluids, thus removing toxins and allowing the muscles to repair and recover. Regular massage will encourage elasticity and flexibility of the muscles. Massage also helps alleviate pain, is relaxing, and well – it feels good!
Seeing a chiropractor during training can play a significant role in injury prevention. Chiropractic care can ease the mechanical loads and stresses placed on the body and can determine the likelihood of an injury by locating muscle imbalances and joint restrictions.
Acupuncture can aid with both injury recovery and injury prevention. For recovery, acupuncture is able to stimulate blood flow to an injured area and promote healing. For injury prevention, acupuncture needles can get directly to deep muscle bands so that they are more susceptible to stretching. There will be less stress on the joint and the muscle will be able to contract without risk of injury. Regular acupuncture can improve muscle fiber mobility and can help prevent problems.
Using these simple tactics to care for your body during high intensity training will help prevent injury and help with recovery when necessary. What do you do to care for your body while endurance training? Please share your tips with us!