Written by Bethany Widdicombe at Running Stats
Recovery is just as important as the thrill of race day. When you take time to rest after pushing your body to the limits, it gives space for your muscles to rebuild. Although recovery does not fully involve just sitting and waiting for the soreness to pass, it involves action.
It is important to keep your body active, even after race day. Jogging or walking for at least 15 minutes the following day helps activate your muscles to rebuild strength. Going for a light swim or doing a yoga routine also helps in movement after the demands of a race.
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If your body is compensating for a pain or muscle imbalance, consider choosing a different method of post race recovery than running. Running with your gait off will only create injury or agitate an existing one. Be sure to know the best cushioned running shoes that can help with race foot soreness and pain.
Do low impact activity after a hard race that won’t make your soreness worse. Getting a massage 2-3 days after race day is another method many athletes use to keep movement in your muscles and reduce the pain of race recovery.
Hydrate With Purpose
Hydration is a key element in recovery. Water is the gateway for your muscles to fill with needed nutrients, which your body desperately needs after a long race.
Strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon, and spinach all provide your body with needed hydration and nutrients. Food that is high in amino acids and protein help repair your muscles faster, which means you can spend more time doing what you love.
Drink water before, during, and after every time you head out for a run, and while in a race. The more you can keep your body trusting it will get the hydration it needs, the better you will be able to perform and recover.
Sleep It Off
After a race, you may feel achy, sore, and a little worn out. Your muscles repair best while you are asleep, which means getting quality sleep after a race can positively impact your recovery experience.
Develop a post race routine that can ease your body into sleep. You may feel jittery still, or even distracted by the hype on social media. Take a break from screens at least two hours before intending to sleep for your brain to calm down for the day.
Tune Into Your Body
When recovering from a race, listening to your body is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Assess your body for injuries, irritations, or inflammation that may be happening from your last race.
Know how to take care of injuries and when you should be replacing worn out gear. If you are experiencing pain, then take adequate time to rest before returning to your training program. Be knowledgeable of the latest running shoes reviews to determine the right shoe for your racing goals and recovery process.
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Recovery is about you. It is about letting your body heal and recover from a long day of running. Your body deserves to rest, so teach your body to recover well after every race. In the long run, it will guide you to less injuries and better performance.
Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article for Running Stats.