Race Recovery Needs
“IT’S FINALLY OVER” seems to have been the consensus we heard throughout the Spring Market Finish Festival on Sunday. As thousands of runners meandered their way from the Finish to the venue grab food and drinks, there were some who simply plotted down on a nice stretch of grass and called it a day. The human body is a magnificent structure unparalleled to any in the animal kingdom. In its top shape, we are invincible.
But like all finely tuned structures, maintenance and recovery are key. We know that the days following an event there are those who opt from anywhere between: A) I am doing NOTHING for the next couple of days to B) a nice 3 mile run on Tuesday will be just what I need! Please see below on some great recovery tips to get you safely back on the run!
For beginners and pros alike, there is nothing more important than allowing your body to rest after a big race. The amount of exertion and pressure placed on muscle and joints on race day calls for an equal amount of rest. Getting back on the road or a machine can actually increase your risk of injury or performing bad workouts as you may still be sore or sensitive from the event. We understand that you just completed heavy mileage and you don’t want to lose your stamina. That’s completely fine but take it slow if you can’t stay away- use cross training and fill your next days with alternate exercises such as swimming or yoga or a nice long walk to keep your muscles active without heavy exertion.
Have you ever seen a brake pad when it needs to be changed? Ok, so that might be a dramatic example but your body is worn out after a race; not only because of race day but due to the cumulative days of training leading up to it. Your body needs maintenance. Massages and stretches are highly recommended in the days that follow. This will help your body’s circulation to heal your body naturally. If you are feeling extra soreness, ice baths or baths with Epsom salt are an easy and efficient solution. Avoid anything that will weigh heavy on your knees or feet.
You have been training for months and have put your heart and soul into pushing yourself across that Finish line. On race day, a huge amount of endorphins are released and can often leave you feeling fatigued or event lightly depressed in the days that follow. Some runners have experienced feeling lost or unbalanced. This is normal. There is a recovery period emotionally as well as your body stabilizes from overworking the endorphins. We have seen that continuing your routine will help to create a sense of continuity and balance. Continue meeting up with friends or your run group but maybe go for a yoga session or a low interval boxing class to keep your energy levels up.
Running long distance can heavily deplete your body’s antioxidant and energy reserves. During your recovery period, you want to eat foods that will aid your body in replenishing these reserves. Whole grains and protein will help your muscles recover and repair while being easy to digest in case you still feel uneasy after the race. Avocados, cottage cheese with fruit, nuts, not only rich in potassium but in monosaturated fats can help boost overall cardiovascular health. Hydration is also key! Replenish your body with lots of water as well as vitamin-rich drinks such as fruit smoothies or pure juices to elevate your electrolytes and antioxidants.
Most importantly, take pride in your accomplishments. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t make your goal time or pace. Take the time to go through your training and race day and jot down what worked for you and what didn’t. Reflect on how you felt throughout the race and how you can improve. Post and share with your family and friends who’s support and encouragement kept you going mile after mile. We all run for different reasons- remember those reasons. The beauty of the human experience is that there is always another day, another race, another chance for improvement. YOU are invincible!