Running – To Get Fit, For Charity or Training For A Marathon – Chiropractors in Southampton Give You Valuable Advice



Proper Sleep, Nutrition And Recovery Are Vital



 Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, especially for athletes,” says James B. Maas, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at CornellUniversity and author of Power Sleep.


In fact, when it comes to recovery, sleep is every bit as important as what you eat or drink. There’s evidence that lack of sleep interferes with the metabolism of glucose, which muscles depend on for recovery. “Sleep plays a critical role in restoring the body, especially after bouts of exercise,” says William O. Roberts, M.D., associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon. “Although sleep needs are individual, a person training for a marathon generally needs more sleep than someone who isn’t.” Lack of sleep can also compromise your immune system, which is already vulnerable during marathon training: Those who get six hours or less of sleep have 50 percent less immunity protection than those who get eight hours per night.

While research has shown that lack of sleep doesn’t hurt physical endurance or strength, it can still compromise your performance. “A sleep-deprived person is physically able to run the same distance or lift the same weight, but the mental effects can have consequences,” says Thomas Balkin, Ph.D., chief of the department of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. Moodiness, anxiety, and irritability are all effects of losing out on sleep. That can turn an ordinarily easy run into a struggle.

Skip Stolley, the director of Track West, a USA Track & Field elite development club in Santa Monica, California, says most runners fall somewhere in the middle. “A runner who’s running every day and training for a marathon should be getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep,” he says.

Sleep needs are individual: Some people need nine hours, while others are energized after six and a half. To calculate the perfect amount for you, try this experiment the next time you’re on holiday. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up naturally–no wake-up call or alarm clock. By the fourth day, you’ll have paid off your sleep debt, and should wake up refreshed.


 Training is a cycle of muscle breakdown followed by repair.

Muscle breakdown occurs during the training when muscle tissue is damaged.

Muscle repair occurs during the recovery phase.

There is substantial evidence that supports eating a recovery snack within the first 15-30 minutes after training enhances muscle glycogen recovery.

Consuming protein-rich foods in the recovery period can enhance muscle protein rebuilding. When you are training, you should consume l0g to 20g of high quality protein within the first hour after exercise.

This should be combined with carbohydrate to stimulate insulin secretion which can help enhance the rebuilding process further. While it is often said that protein is the most important part of recovery nutrition, it is relatively small compared to carbohydrate needs. While supplements can be used, obtaining 10 to 20g of protein from food is simple and likely to provide greater overall nutrition.

The type and timing of protein for recovery has been the focus of recent research. It appears that animal proteins, which contain all the essential amino acids (e.g. milk), may be more beneficial than incomplete

proteins. However, for vegetarians and/or vegans there are still plenty of good options such as soy, hemp and meat and alternatives like nuts and nut butters.

Research from the University of Western Ontario indicates that timing of protein consumption may be important and that consuming protein before, during as well as after training where anabolic muscle building is the goal may be most beneficial. The protein amounts still remain relatively small and easy to get from food sources.

Recovery Snack Examples

Smoothie: 1 cup fruit juice, 1 cup plain yogurt and 1 large

banana = 74g carbs, 16g protein

2 cups chocolate milk (or fortified soy beverage) and a large

banana = 84g carbs, 18g protein

Sandwich: 2 slices whole-grain bread, 1 tbsp peanut butter,

1 tbsp jam = 5 lg carbs, 10g protein

Trail mix: 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup dry-roasted soy nuts,

1 cup Cheerios = 65g carbs, 13g protein

Smoothie: 1 cup vanilla soy beverage, 1 cup each blueberries

and mango (frozen) = 62g carbs, 10g protein


Maintaining optimal hydration when training at high volume or high intensity can be a challenge for many athletes.

For every 1 pound weight loss during training, the athlete should consume 3 cups of fluid.

Water alone will not suffice to replace lost electrolytes and réhydrate the body properly The major electrolyte lost in sweat is sodium, which can be replaced by beverages such as vegetable juice, milk and sports drinks. It can also be replaced by consuming a high-sodium food, such as cottage cheese, or canned fish as a recovery snack. With concern over sodium excess in the general population, it’s important for athletes to realize they may not need to be on a low sodium diet, but rather may need to add salt to their recovery nutrition. Not replacing sodium will affect the body’s ability to retain fluids consumed in the post-exercise period and can result in high urine output which can lead to dehydration and/or sodium depletion and potentially muscle cramps.


 For runners, this means you must factor in recovery days as an essential part of your training program and follow them as they were meant to be. For some, this will mean a day of complete rest from training, for most it means taking some training sessions easier and not pushing yourself hard.

A true recovery day should not be hard. You should be training at a pace that you are barely breathing hard and could maintain a short conversation. Despite how good you feel when running easy, you should not push the pace on a recovery day; otherwise you are defeating the purpose of the workout.

Most people are amazed at how slow they must truly go in order to accomplish this task, and sometimes it can feel almost painfully slow. For example, a half marathon runner should run their recovery runs almost 1-2 minutes slower than their half marathon pace in order to maintain a true recovery pace. For marathoners, this pace is closer to 60-90 seconds slower than marathon goal pace.

For some athletes the idea of going slow may seem counterproductive to what they are trying to accomplish; however, all the hard training runs, interval workouts, and long runs are useless if you do not let your body recover from the effort and repair the muscle damage you have done.

The body gets stronger and faster by breaking down muscle (hard training) and then allowing the body to build itself back up stronger than before (recovery) and repeating the process until you are in shape and ready to race.

If you get any pains or aches in your joints or muscles, give us a call and see if we can help. Dr Barton runs and cycles regularly and Dr Moore loves the gym so they are both on hand to help you with any advice you might need.