It’s finally race day and you’re feeling confident that everything you’ve trained so hard for will go well; however, one thing you may not have thought about is what happens when you've finished the race. Do you have a post-race recovery plan in place?
1.) Immediately After You Finish Your Race:
You might not feel like it, but doing a gentle jog after the race will really help the legs and get any lactic acid moving and most importantly, stop it pooling in your legs. It doesn't have to be fast, just getting the legs moving quicker than a walk will do the trick. Once you’ve jogged around a bit, sit down, get some protein in you, and stretch. There might be a few muscle groups you'll feel straight away which are more tight and more stiff than others. Key areas would be the calves and the hamstrings.
2.) Rest, Rest, Rest, And Massage!
After you’ve sufficiently stretched out your sore muscles, get home and rest those legs. Also, if there is a massage available at the race, why not treat yourself? A massage will really help your legs and better yet, you don't have to do anything except lay on the bed!
3.) The Next Few Days:
Once you’re home, it’s really going to be during the next day that you'll be able to determine how much recovery time you'll need. If your legs really feel tired, then a couple of days of not running might be something to consider. But remember, after a couple of days of rest, the more jogging and running you do, the quicker the recovery process begins! We believe the best cure for soreness is what caused it in the first place and that means more running.
4.) Stay In Tune With Your Body...
The most important step is to stay in tune with your body and how you’re feeling. The time after a race is where you are most likely to get injured or even run down by over-doing it. You don't want to have one easy day after your race and then go straight into a long run that hurts you. Try to make smart decisions for your body and if you feel your muscles haven't fully recovered then don't do anything more than a light jog.
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Keywords: Race Recovery, recovering, recover, recover from a race