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Expert advice on stretching exercises and marathon recovery


From race-day stretches to a go-to recovery plan, Boston-based physio therapist Katelyn Cloutier shares how she prepares for a big race ahead of the Boston Marathon.


Before a race

Prior to race time I like to do a dynamic warm-up which includes movement with stretching.

Key stretches include:

1. High knees
2. Butt kicks
3. Hamstring/leg swings
4. Deep lunges with trunk rotation
5. Inch worm


I also do foam rolling if the space provides for this. I address my quads, hamstrings, calves and adductors.


Recovery

My go-to recovery plan is to keep moving after the race is finished. This can either be walking and/or more foam rolling. Post-race static stretching is also important. I usually drink more water and have a Snickers to spike my blood sugars back up to normal levels.

There is not strong evidence towards lactic acid build-up being the cause of post-race soreness. Studies are inconclusive if this is the true culprit, however post-race or training soreness is very real. Maintaining hydration of water and electrolytes as well as your preparation is key for post-race fatigue.

Preventing injury

Prevention from the most common running injuries requires consistency in training. Setting myself up for the expectation that my long runs will get better with power from strength training and also by progressively increasing my run times. Sleep and dietary planning play a major role in terms of how well my training will go and how hard I can push myself on any given day.

"Dressing for the last mile, not the first mile, in terms of clothing is key and a lot of novice runners make this mistake when training."

Katelyn Cloutier, physio therapist

Maintaining homeostasis, including body temperature, is very important to prevent runner’s fatigue. Dressing for the last mile, not the first mile, in terms of clothing is key and a lot of novice runners make this mistake when training. In New England this can be hard to judge given our cold temperatures prior to Marathon Monday training. Maintaining warmth in the beginning and cool by the end with lightweight clothing fits my needs best.

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