8 Best Running Recovery Tricks After A Hard Race

You may feel on top of the world after completing your first 5k or 10k, but if you don’t have a good running recovery strategy, soon you’ll be feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck.

If you’re thinking that this won’t happen to you, because you’ll prepare well for the race, think again. It happens to everyone! Even avid runners feel beat up after hard races.

Post-Race Running Recovery

Luckily, with the right running recovery strategy, you can bounce back fast and continue working out. Below are some of the things you should do after a hard race to recover fast.

1. Lower-Body Stretching

Stretching for 10 to 20 minutes after a hard race can be very rewarding. Stretching improves blood circulation and helps reduce muscle tightness.

It’s important to do the stretches before your body cools down. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and glutes.

2. Eat High-Carb and High-Protein Meals

Eating high-carb foods and drinks after the race will help replenish glycogen stores and as a result, speed up your recovery. Simple carbs like rice, pasta, and bread are the best option since your body can absorb them most easily.

You may also want to increase your protein intake for a day or two. Protein repairs the microscopic muscle tears that occur when running.

3. Get a Massage

A massage is a great way to reward yourself for completing a hard race, and the best part is it’ll ease the pain.

Ask the therapist to apply light pressure to your muscles. Getting a deep massage after a hard race can damage your muscle and slow down recovery.

4. Take a Warm Epsom Salt Bath

I’m not going to ask you to take an ice bath, that’s torturous, and some studies say ice baths slow down muscle growth. An Epsom salt bath, on the other hand, is very relaxing. It will help you recover, since Epsom salts contain magnesium, which relaxes muscles and reduces aches.

For running recovery, add four cups of Epsom salt to hot water and then bathe for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Drink Enough Water

You need to drink water after the race to replenish the fluids lost through sweating and respiration. Feel free to drink electrolyte-infused water, if that’s what you prefer, but plain water will work just fine.

Drink two to three glasses 10 minutes after the race.

6. Walk While Recovering

It might be tempting to lie on the couch the next day, if you’re sore, but going for a short walk will actually improve your blood circulation.

Walk for 15 to 20 minutes every day until you can start running again.

7. Give Yourself Time to Recover

Some believe that heading back on the road immediately after a hard race if the best way to recover. That’s a bad approach, and it usually leads to slow recovery and injuries.

Rest for a few days until you can run comfortably again. Do light exercises like walking and yoga stretches during the recovery period.

8. Prioritize Sleep

Your body recovers and repairs itself during sleep. So make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep the night after a hard race.

Which challenges have you experienced after completing a hard race? What running recovery strategies work for you?

8 Best Running Recovery Tricks After a Hard Race

Images via Thinkstock

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