Rest before hitting road again
By Jonathan Lyau
Special to The Advertiser
By Jonathan Lyau
Now that The Honolulu Marathon is done and you have come down to earth, the big question is: "Now what?"
Some of you may hang up your shoes for a while, but I would imagine that many of you would like to continue training and not lose the fitness you have gained. Give yourself a month to get back into normal training and to get motivated again.
The first step is rest. A marathon puts a lot of stress on your body.
Injury risk and illness is higher in the next few weeks, so making sure you recover properly will get you back in training safely.
Michael Kasamoto, 57, has learned how important recovery is.
"I will take vitamins and other supplements to strengthen my immune system," said Kasamoto, who finished his sixth marathon on Sunday in 3:47:43. "I learned to do this after contracting shingles about 10 days after the 2003 marathon."
Hopefully most of you have done no training this week. Some easy walking is good.
Go Christmas shopping and don't worry about running. The first week after the marathon is a time to get lots of sleep and to eat healthy. This will speed up the rebuilding of your muscles and get you feeling back to normal.
Angela Sy, 39, looks forward her recovery period.
"I take a week off from running, while still doing something active but very different than running," said Sy, who finished this year's race in 3:44:59. "I feel more refreshed from not having those running legs being pounded. I have, after several marathons, cross-trained and gone snowboarding."
In the second week, you can do a few short 20- to 30-minute runs at an easy pace. You won't have muscle soreness by then, but you may feel some sluggishness. Your muscles are still healing so these short easy runs will increase blood circulation and aid recovery.
These easy runs can be increased to 30 to 50 minutes in the third week. At that point, you should starting feeling like everything is more in rhythm. Your runs may be feeling good, but continue to run easy and comfortably.
During the fourth week, the number of days run per week can be back to where it was prior to the marathon. Running at a faster pace can be done. This is also a time to set new goals.
Kane Ng-Osorio, 31, who ran a 3:37:27 on Sunday, said, "I make a plan for the next year and start to figure out what races I want to run and if I will do another marathon."
By the fifth week, your body should be ready for "normal" training. Structured training and harder workouts can begin again.
The recovery process takes about a month. The marathon is hard on your body as it damages muscle tissue and can mentally and physically break you down.
Proper recovery will allow you to come back stronger and fresher.
"The marathon catches up on you," Sy said. "I've found that if I don't allow for adequate recovery, there is no way I can cheat or trick my body into getting back into fresh form. If I don't allow for recovery, I end up needing more time to recover."
Jonathan Lyau is a 13-time kama'aina winner of The Honolulu Marathon. He wrote a series of stories leading up to the race.