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So you are approaching the 7th day after the marathon. Hopefully your body is feeling less stiff and your aches and pains are disappearing. Whether you are going to prepare for the Las Vegas or Honolulu Marathons in December, or simply just take the winter off from running – you should be thinking about how to rebuild muscle, improve flexibility and regain joint stability. But if you are going to do this – find a fun activity that is dynamic, cross training that accomplishes everything for your body.
Martial arts is one of the most balanced sports – I say this because it trains both sides of the body equally, involves static and dynamic flexibility, its movement require balance training and you still incorporate your cardiovascular system and build strength. Certainly not all martial arts school incorporate a lot of cross training, but the progressive schools are blending their art with the benefits of mainstream athletic training exercises – like dumbbells, bosus, jump rope, medicine balls, kettle bells, yoga and threshold intervals.
Some examples of exercise programs from martial arts that will create a more athletic version of yourself post marathon are listed below. Whichever one you choose make sure the staff teaches technique, so you do not develop any bad habits or set your self up for an injury.
Kickboxing Fitness Classes- Heavy Bag training Intervals in two minute rounds, that super set jump rope rounds and abs with the medicine ball.
Muay Thai Boot Camp – Jump Rope warm up – sprints as a transition – stretching drills – partner drills where you throw kicks, knees and elbows on thai pads, changing every 3 minutes.
Boxing and Strength Class – Jump Rope warm-up, 10 minute total body weight blast, 5 rounds on the boxing mitts, plyometric drills to finish
Tae Kwon Do Fitness – PE style warm up, static and dynamic stretches, technique breakdown, kicking drills for most of class, cool down with stretches.
MMA Circuit (non contact) – warming up with technical drills, transiting in explosive training, stretches, circuits that include, but are not limited to: striking a bag, ground dummy, TRX band, kettle bells, jump rope, medicine ball, bear crawls, plyometrics, heavy rope for upper body, assisted pull ups, thai kicking on heavy bag, knee strikes, striking g on the mitts and more…
However you decide to spend week 2 through 16 after your marathon, it should be fun and focus on training the body comprehensively. In doing so, you should treat yourself as an athlete that needs to maintain cardiovascular fitness, but not necessarily by running exclusively – but by cross training. Activities that are primarily presented in intervals where your heart rate is pushed to 80-95% of its target heart rate is where you will find major improvements in your overall fitness level. Additionally, be dynamic, cross training weekly, prioritize flexibility and build strength in a functional manner.