Most of the correspondence I’m currently receiving is related to aches, pains and soreness after the long runs. Everyone is concerned about taking an extra day off from running and losing their hard-earned fitness. But a well timed and much needed rest day is as important as a great training run.
Proper fueling before, during and after the long runs will help reduce muscle soreness as well as aches and pain in tendons and ligaments. Proper hydration is equally important. Most runners that I coach still do not take regular walk breaks or wait too late to incorporate them. Incorporating regular walk breaks from the outset of runs will help to stave off fatigue and muscle soreness by allowing you to maintain efficient running form throughout each run.
I’m comforted when I see a runner begin to eat and use the stick and foam roller immediately upon returning from a long run. When they comment they’re planning to take a 5-10 minute ice bath when they return home, I’m convinced they’re do all they can to quickly recover from their long runs. Focusing exclusively on the running aspect of training is only half of the marathon training equation for success.
Many runners are surprised that muscle soreness may worsen several days after a long run. This soreness is an sign that you body is healing. An extra day of active rest consisting of lower impact cross training is the best solution. A few runners are incorporating water running with a lot of success since the benefits are equal to running without any impact. Spinning and the elliptical or ARC trainer are also viable options.I have always been an advocate of erring on the side of caution with respect to soreness, aches and pains.
Not taking necessary rest can cause chronic injuries to develop and place a major obstacle in your marathon training preparation. Listen closely to how your body is responding to the gradual increase in mileage, take the necessary rest, and you will be assured of sustaining the momentum that will guarantee that you arrive at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in relative comfort!