Marathon Recovery: Less known helpers

Marathon Recovery: Less known helpers

Recovery from a marathon (or any long distance event) includes many essential components. Some of these components we know and some we may not know.

Most seasoned athletes are familiar with the ice bath…the painful process of sitting in a bath full of ice. Most also know that rest, stretching and some early movement are other key components to recovery.

But the factor most miss when talking about recovery is not what we are doing with our bodies, but what we are putting in our bodies. A friend recently reminded me of this fact and encouraged me to write about it.

Working the muscles causes muscle break down. That break down causes the process of inflammation to begin in the muscles themselves. This is part of why the ice bath works so nicely…because it helps decrease the body’s inflammatory component.

But another great way to decrease the body’s inflammatory component is by the food we eat. Anti-inflammatory foods include all the antioxidants we have been told about including Omega 3’s (think fish oil). In addition, an anti-inflammatory diet includes excluding sugars, flour and some grains (like wheat if you are intolerant). Other spices such as turmeric and cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Changing your diet can make a big effect on your recovery as you shuttle out the chemicals causing the inflammatory cycle to continue. For more information on anti-inflammatory foods, there is a wealth of information to be found with a simple google search: “anti-inflammatory diet”.

We are what we eat…