I don’t know how people can spring back after a race to race again in a week or two. I ache for days after a long run, and for a few weeks after a half marathon. Anyone else feel that way, or am I just extremely weak? I think the important thing in recovery is to not expect too much from yourself. Just because someone you know of someone who can immediately bounce back doesn’t mean that you can, and that’s ok! One big thing I’ve learned in this running journey is to not compare to other runners. Each body is different! I don’t claim to be any expert on race recovery, but I thought I’d share with you what I do to help recover.
After the race immediately stretch, drink gatorade or coconut water, and eat a banana. Walking a bit and stretching helps your muscles not immediately stiff up, and will help on your drive home! It’s also important to get in some calories and hydrate!
About two hours after the race I eat my first meal. I love eating subway after races! While I’m normally a 6 inch girl when it comes to Subway, after a race I quickly devour an entire foot long! Getting starbucks is also on the schedule!
Salted Caramel Mochas are critical for post-race recovery:)
ICE BATH! This is one of my favorite parts of the post-long run recovery process. I’ve detailed how to take an ice bath comfortably here, so check it out:)
Foam roll diligently for a number of days! I love my foam roller and the little balls I lay on to get to specific muscles! I do them at the end of every day, and occasionally in the morning before work if I’m really feeling stiff!
Recovery is physical and mental. The post race blues are definitely a real thing, and need to be addressed during this recovery time. You can find my post on beating the post race blues here.
Get moving again! Your recovery should be active recovery, meaning that you are still moving and exercising! After my race on Saturday, I did yoga on Tuesday and that felt fantastic! I’ve only done a few short runs, but I’ve been walking a lot and that has been great!
Remember that recovery takes time. I’ve read in a number of places that recovery basically takes a day for each mile that you ran. Whether that’s actually true or not, I can’t say, but in my experience it has definitely taken at least that long to get completely back to normal. Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself the necessary time to actually recover.
Now it’s your turn to share! What are your recovery tips after a race?
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or certified trainer, and this post is not meant to replace medical advice. I’m simply sharing what has worked for me. Please consult a doctor or trainer if you have specific questions or an injury.