Spend some time basking in the after race glory - you deserve it.
So now you need to look at your Post Race Recovery
Right After a Race
Rehydrate: The first thing you should do after crossing the line is rehydrate. You need to replace all the electrolytes, minerals and water you sweated out of your body. Make sure it’s a mixture of water and other sports drinks so you don’t get that “full” feeling while still wanting more water - check out our blog on hydration here
Eat: Don’t forget to eat. You just spent the last few hours burning up all your energy reserves. You burn between 200-800 calories an hour. If your race is 4 hours that a possibility of 3200 calories.
What you eat is also important. Make sure it’s a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats right after the race to replace some of the nutrients you lost. Your next big meal after the race should also contain large amounts of protein to help with muscle repair. So meat, fish, eggs are all good choices. Have a look at our All Trained Out blog for some valuable information.
Do not underestimate the importance of nutrition in your post race recovery.
Massage: This is a great way to help muscle recovery and rid your body of that lactic acid - it is also hugely relaxing. If you can't get a massage then a great substitute is a foam roller
Stretch: 30 minutes of stretching that evening will help keep your muscles limber and prevent muscle stiffness.
Walk around: This improves circulation and allows oxygen and glycose to get to our muscles while lactic acid is removed. A simple but effective process.
Take a bath: A bath can do wonders for tired muscles. Adding Epsom salts can be beneficial also.
Enjoy the moment: This is a major achievement that many aspire to. You have done it - Be proud, and savour the moment.
The Days After
Rest and Recover: For good race recovery you should relax your body over the next few days and take it easy. If you want to keep your fitness up then opt for walking or short gentle running. Swimming is also a great way to maintain fitness while using different muscle groups.
Stretch: Keep your muscles lose and flexible. As your muscles repair themselves they can become tight and soar. Stretching helps keep your muscles elastic and just makes you feel more comfortable.
Massage: Light massages. Avoid deep muscle massages. Again the foam roller can be used but do take it easy and use it correctly.
Nutrition: You will feel very hungry for a few days after a big event. Try to plan your meals and snacks so you don't resort to high sugar foods which are always so tempting when your energy levels are low. You do deserve a little indulgence but get back to your routine as soon as you can - If you are struggling to get back to routine check out our All Trained Out blog here for some inspiration.
Different lengths of time: Recovery takes time. You need to ease back in to training. Go by how your body feels, not by goals or timelines. Going back too early to training can slow your recovery and give you problems further down the line, preventing you from getting to your full potential. Listen to your body and seek medical advice about any injuries you are worried about.
Mental recovery: Recovery is not just about your body recovering, but mentally as well. You have come down off a rush of dopamine and will have 3 to 4 days of no exercise. Your usual schedule of going for a run with friends or on your own will have end abruptly. It’s a bit like reading a good book or binge watching a TV show. When it’s over you’re a little bit lost and unsure of what to do next.
Be kind to yourself, keep in touch with your training buddies and plan your next move - be it another event, some family time, a night out, holiday, etc.