How To Recover Properly After a Long Race
Training for a run properly means you not only pay attention to the training needed prior to the race but also after to ensure quicker and safer recovery.
Here are some steps you can take after your race:
Right After the Race:
- Replenishing the fluids lost – There is no consensus on what to consume after a race, but replacing fluids lost and your carbohydrate supply is of prime importance to restoring normal energy levels. For more specific details seek the professional advice of a sports-oriented dietitian.
- Rewinding the system – Try walking backwards. You’ve just spent 45 minutes or more moving forward, rewind the system by walking backwards.
- Avoiding cramps/muscle spasm – The quads, the calves and the lower back muscles are very active while running and commonly tighten up. Gently stretch these muscle groups to improve circulation and inhibit muscle cramping. Hold stretches for 20 – 30 seconds.
- Inhibiting pain – Pain can indicate a significant injury. If there is any pain use ice and elevation to improve circulation, inhibit spasm, and pain. Ice for up to 10 minutes at a time as prolonged icing can cause “freezer burns
In the Days After a Race:
- Performing light exercise – Rapid walking forwards, sideways, and backwards helps restore normal muscle flexibility, improves circulation and decreases muscle tightness.
- Continuing with good nutrition habits – Stay hydrated. Make sure to eat proper amounts of protein to help you rebuild and repair damaged tissue. The American Dietetic Association recommends between .54-.77 g of protein per day per pound of bodyweight for active individuals.
- Lightly massaging sore muscles – to increase circulation and speed soft tissue recovery.
Try these strategies to recover faster, train better, and enhance your next performance. Our physical therapists also specialize in run mechanics and therapy, contact us to learn more!