Athletes use arnica for a variety of needs related to training and sports. In the running community specifically, arnica has a growing reputation as a go-to remedy. In recent years, Arnica and other homeopathic remedies have even been used by runners participating in the world-renowned Boston Marathon.
To get an insider’s perspective on how arnica can help during the big race, as well as for other runs and training, we spent some time with our friend Mike Ehredt, a certified running coach based in Idaho. Mike has finished more than 50 marathons, including 5 Boston Marathons, and completed multiple Trans-Con runs for his initiative called Project America Run, so he knows firsthand what runners go through before, during, and after a race.
Using Arnica Mid-Race
Mike has been running competitively for more than 30 years and began using arnica and other homeopathic products in the early 2000s.
He recommends using arnica before a run begins, since ”arnica can help keep the pain minimized as long as it is used correctly and at the first onset of discomfort.” Using arnica throughout a long run may also help provide some “soothing relief.”
Arnica for Post-Race Recovery
Taking care of your muscles post-run is critical. In Mike’s experience, “an application of arnica gel can help prevent muscle soreness and stiffness.” Mike also advises that arnica gel works even better when you “aren’t too gentle with it.” Rather, he recommends you “really massage it in!”
Plus, It’s a Natural Alternative to OTC Pain Meds
Mike originally started using arnica because he was looking for a natural alternative to synthetic drugs. According to Mike, the pain-relieving benefits from arnica are similar to synthetic pain relief medication, but with arnica he doesn’t have to worry about harmful side effects. He also feels like it doesn’t just mask symptoms, but actually helps his body recover.
Mike’s Race Training Tips
In addition to using arnica to help relieve your aches and pains, there are also general training guidelines you can follow to assist your body. Here’s are some tips Mike shared with us.
- Don’t do too much, too fast, too soon: A lot of injuries happen when we overexert ourselves and/or overestimate our abilities. It’s best to start slowly and build towards your fitness goals one training session at a time.
- Focus on quality, not quantity: This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Sometimes it’s okay to just go out and run for fun. So rather than focusing on a certain speed or distance every time, focus on getting a good, solid workout. This is especially important if you are already stressed and fatigued.
- Stay comfortably hydrated: In the running world, dehydration is a serious concern. Not only is it dangerous, but it can also lead to cramping. On the other hand, it’s also important not to overhydrate by unnecessarily drinking electrolyte-enhanced beverages. When it comes to hydration, balance is key.
- Eat right: Like water, food is fuel that keeps your muscles working. During a race, the body needs roughly 200 calories per hour to keep going, with carbohydrate intake being the most critical. In Mike’s opinion, “the best way to restore your energy is to eat bananas or high-carbohydrate sport gels, which have been formulated specifically for athletes.” He explains that after an intense run, the body has roughly a half-hour window before it needs a simple carb to jumpstart recovery. Two hours later, it’s best to have a well-rounded meal containing protein and veggies.
In addition to being a 5-time Boston Marathon finisher, Mike Ehredt is also an accomplished cyclist, Athlete Ambassador for Hyland’s Homeopathic, a Certified Personal Trainer in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a USATF Certified running coach. Learn more about Mike and his running journeys at: MikeRunsIdaho.com.
- Explore arnica.com for more on the subject of arnica for runners and other types of athletes.