Use these recovery tips to ease soreness, stay healthy, and ensure you’re ready to get back to the starting line for next time.
Congratulations on completing your race!
Most of your hard work is done, but there’s one more step you should take in order to set yourself up for future success—a proper recovery. A proper recovery can help you in the short term (less soreness tomorrow) and in the long term (getting back out there for your next race injury-free).
Here are some tips from a physical therapist to help you recover properly.
1) Take some relative rest.
You should take a few days to rest, but don’t just sit around. Hold off on any long or intense workouts. Keep moving with lower intensity activities such as walking, cycling, yoga, or an easy effort jog. This may actually help ease muscle soreness.
2) Rehydrate and refuel.
Water, electrolytes, and adequate calories consisting of carbs and protein are necessary for your body and muscles to recover. Within an hour after a hard workout or a race, you should eat something that includes both carbohydrates and protein, with a heavier focus on carbs. Try eggs and toast, banana with nut butter, or a smoothie.
Aim for full nights– 8 hours if you can get it. Sleep may be the most underrated and also most important factor in recovery.
4) Get ahead of aches and pains.
Address any nagging pains that were creeping in during training or came up during your race by seeing a physical therapist. Get evaluated sooner rather than later, and start your rehab or– even better– prevent these pains from progressing to an injury that stops you from running.
5) Give yourself some TLC.
This is a good time to do whatever makes you feel good; stretch, foam roll or use your massage gun, get a massage, etc.