Congratulations on finishing your race! No matter whether you ran a 5K or a full marathon, your recovery starts right after crossing the finish line.
Below are some post race tips for a speedy recovery.
1. Keep Moving
It is highly encouraged to keep moving for about 15 minutes right after you cross the finish line. The reason why you should keep moving post race is to keep the blood flowing and to avoid leg cramps or fainting.
2. Re-Hydrate & Re-Fuel
During the race the body, most probably, has lost a lot of water through sweat, so it’s important to restore that balance as soon as possible, particularly on a hot day or during a long race. In addition, the body loses a lot of sodium through sweat. Decreased levels of sodium prevents the body from absorbing the water, so it’s important to replenish that as well. Adding an electrolyte tab to your water helps with replenishing your sodium stores.
Zarah Hofer from Grounded Rootz Nutrition recommends consuming 45 to 60g of Carbs and 15 to 20g of proteins 30 to 60 mins post race. Protein shake and fruits are your best options since they are easily accessible at the finish line.
1 to 3 hours post race, you should aim for a nutrient dense meal. Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables. Select healthy sources of protein, mostly from plant sources (legumes and nuts), fish or seafood, low-fat or nonfat dairy and lean cuts of meat. Continue to hydrate.
3. Take an ice bath or cold shower
Cold reduces inflammation and will, therefore, improve blood flow to the muscles. As a result, a great way to speed up muscle repair after a race is by getting into an ice bath for ~10 minutes. Can't do it? Then pour cold water on your legs only.
4. Stretch and foam roll
Stretching helps to lengthen muscles that got tight during the race and, therefore, stimulate the blood flow to clear up the waste products. Post race stretching should be very short, gentle and with minimum discomfort. Generally, 5 minutes is enough. If you have a soft foam roller – a couple of rolls will also help to relieve tightness. The sooner you do it post race, the better.
Stretching, foam rolling and Yoga are also highly encouraged in the days following your race. They will help with speeding up the recovery process.
5. Put on compression socks
Putting on compression clothing after the race will help to limit swelling in the muscles, also promoting blood flow. Socks are the most popular choice.
Sleeping and resting are by far the most effective way of speeding up post race recovery. At complete rest our heart rate slows down and blood pressure decreases. That allows our nervous system to relax, muscles to get less tense, so that blood can flow better to muscles and recycle waste.
7. Stay active
Aim to go for a short and easy run or bike ride one to two days after your race. If there’s no significant muscle soreness, the day after is the time to do it to open up tight muscles.
8. Get a massage
Getting a massage may be helpful at flushing out your muscles and decreasing the soreness you have. Be careful, though. A strong massage like this can be considered as a workout itself, as it puts a lot of pressure on muscles and joints. Don’t schedule a training session within 24 hours after the massage to let the muscles regenerate.
9. Keep it easy
Depending on your race, it is very important to keep your workout at an easy level during your recovery period. Try to avoid high intensity workouts such as speed workouts and hill training. Keep your run distance nice and short.
A 10K race takes about 1 week of recovery, a half marathon two weeks and a full marathon takes about 4 weeks of recovery.
Are you looking to nail your next race? Or maybe you are looking to develop a more resilient mindset and integrate training into a busy lifestyle? Whatever your goals are, Striderz can help you develop a balanced training plan and coach you to reach your full potential.