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Earlier this week I shared with you how tough this half marathon was for me. The pain afterwards was different then other pain, and because of the allergies also required a bit of a different recovery then my other two half marathons. (After my last half marathon I wrote a post on recovering from half marathons here). Here’s what I’ve done the last few days to facilitate recovery:

Saturday  (race day):

  • banana and gatorade immediately after crossing the finish line
  • stretching after getting through the post race party
  • compression sleeves on the drive home (my legs were still cramping badly at this point and compression was helping)
  • rolling (foam and the stick) after the drive home
  • Ice bath (the only time until bedtime that my legs felt remotely ok)
  • foot long sub, 20 ounces of gatorade, pretzels (salt!!), and dinner a few hours later
  • My massage friend came over and offered to work on my cramping leg for awhile. This hurt really badly (I might have even said “ow ow ow ow ow” as she was digging in my muscles), but I knew it was helping

Sunday

  • 1 hour of pilates- I definitely pulled back on the intensity and focused on good form and stretching. This helped SO MUCH. I’ve never done this the day after a race before, and I’ll definitely be doing it from now on.
  • Banana and coconut water
  • While I wasn’t that hungry or thirsty on Sunday morning, but about 5 pm both set in and I kept eating and drinking most of the night.
  • Lots and lots of fluid intake
  • Icy hot patch on my left leg where the bad cramps had been
  • Early bedtime

{Sunday night after I went to bed I got hit with another batch of leg cramps. I got up again to stretch, iced my leg, and ate another small meal}

Monday

  • Lots and lots of fluid
  • Balanced eating to try to balance out everything I lost on Saturday
  • Biofreeze on left leg and ankle
  • VERY SLOW 1.2 mile walk (it was the most I could do)
  • 8.5 hours of sleep

Tuesday

  • Lots more fluid (I feel like I’m STILL trying to catch up!)
  • More balanced eating
  • Frozen yogurt (it can’t all be perfectly healthy!)
  • Upper body strength training (I focused on arms to give my legs more time to heal)
  • Foam rolling
  • Early bedtime again

I’m taking moving pretty slowly. My ankle feels pretty off on the inside, so I’ve been trying to stay off of it as I can. I’m trying to move and get work outs in, but I’m also trying to give myself time and space to rest and recover. My sleep tends to be so poor the few days leading up to a race, so I’m definitely in need of a lot of sleep now. I’m feeling really thirsty and hungry lately as well, so I’m trying to give my body what it needs to best recover.

I think getting a massage was one of the best things that I did after this race. Besides the two spots that were cramping the worst during my run, my legs actually feel, as a whole, much better after this race compared to my last two, and I think that’s because of massage.

Now it’s your turn to share: What do you do the few days after a race to help yourself recover? Have you ever gotten a massage following a hard workout or a race?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or trainer. I’m simply sharing what I have done this week to help myself recover. 

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