2022 grueling Comrades: How to recover

You have just completed one of the toughest races of the sporting calendar.

A true test of the human body’s physiological limits. Some managed to surpass their previous best. Others had to fight through the psychological and physical barriers just to get to the finish. Others didn’t get to cross the line this time around. However it turned out, the mere participation in such a grueling event makes you a champion.

Also read: Two from RandMark finish grueling 2022 Comrades Marathon

As a public benefit organisation, the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) had the well-being of the runners in mind as they tended to the queue of limping race-goers at the finish line and at the cordoned-off tent where physiotherapy services were being offered. The tireless contribution of the qualified physiotherapists as well as students on the route brought some much-needed reprieve to the runners. In the event that you didn’t find a moment to stop at the physio tent, the SASP have supplied some pointers on how to best recover.

So put away those running shoes and make some time to focus on self-care. Here are a few tips and tricks from the South African Society of Physiotherapy, to help your body and mind recover.

1. Get enough rest and sleep

You have a vigorous training regime completed and 12 hours of intense racing. Now, you must give your body time to recover, especially if you experienced extreme soreness and fatigue. Sleep is key to muscle repair and allowing the body to reset itself. So hit the pillow and get some much-needed shut-eye.

2. Pay attention to potential injuries

Check if you haven’t encountered any injuries during the race. If you have picked up a niggle, consult with a physio for advice on how to best manage and support your injury.

3. Attend to your muscular needs

While you may feel ready to get going immediately, your muscles may not. A good sports massage will assist your muscles with recovery. If possible, book a massage with a physio to attend to any muscular tensions you may have post-race.

4. Avoid running for now

Before you think about running again, give yourself enough time to recover. If active recovery works best for you, try swimming or other low-impact activities instead.

5. Start planning for next year’s marathon

If you weren’t one of the winners, you probably want to take on the challenge again. Between now and next year, spend some time to reflect on your performance, which areas you can improve on and work on those. By effectively planning your race in advance, you will already be in a better position by the time the next marathon comes around.

6. Listen to your body

While these tips are beneficial to most people, the fact remains that our bodies are different, and they recover differently. So, the best strategy is to listen to your body and attend to its needs. It will determine how quickly you can bounce back.