Racing, especially marathons, is an intense experience that requires months if not years of strenuous training and conditioning; however, that conditioning doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line-- at least, not if you want to improve your time, become stronger or just stay in top form for the next race. The stress from the months of training and running your race can really take a toll on the human body, which is why you will need to modify your conditioning routine after a race.
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Low-Impact Aerobic ExerciseRacing puts a lot of stress on your body, especially on your knees and legs. Instead of hitting the track after completing a race to increase your speed, do low-impact aerobic exercises for a while to increase your strength and endurance without putting your knees and legs at risk.
- Swimming laps is an ideal exercise for runners because you’ll be able to build lean muscle that will help you propel your body forward while increasing your endurance. Swimming is also easy on your joints, which are likely in need of a break after serious training for a race.
(literally jogging in the shallow end of a swimming pool) is also an
ideal exercise for runners since the water will prevent your joints
from absorbing the impact. The water will also create resistance,
which, in turn, can help you build muscle while working on your
- Cycling is also a great change of pace for runners that need to stay in shape. Regular cycling can help develop the muscles in the legs that runners use, which can help reduce the risk of injury while improving your strength and speed.
Take Rest DaysYou already know that rest days are essential when you’re training for a race, but they’re also important for normal training runs. How are you supposed to know when you need a rest? Most runners need a rest every 7 days of training. If you run every day of the week, change your routine and take at least one day off. Rest days help replenish glycogen that is stored in the muscles, while helping build strength and reduce your overall fatigue level, which will allow you to train harder. Don’t look at rest days as your body needing a break – look at them as you giving your body a break so you can train harder and more efficiently. After running a race, there’s nothing wrong with taking a day or two off before you get back to low-impact aerobic training.
Get Regular MassagesWhen you run regularly, your muscles will get sore if you’re pushing yourself to run farther or faster. Muscle soreness is just a fact of life for many runners. However, getting regular massages about once per week at a professional spa can really help relieve muscle soreness as well as help you relax on your weekly rest day while relieving some of the pain from training.
For many people, running is a way of life, and racing is only part of the goal. Training is just as important – but training too hard, too much or the wrong way can damage your body and make running impossible. Incorporate different conditioning exercises into your workout routine and make sure you take time to rest to keep your body healthy.