Steps to a speedy recovery
Let’s face it there will not be many of you that ‘sauntered’ around your 10k race. With this in mind, and the fact that you have just sweat blood and tears for such a worthy cause, we have put together some top tips to help you towards a speedy recovery.
Stay Warm & Cool Down
- Ensure you get straight into a track suit, or warm clothes; this will enable your muscles to stay warm, aiding effective stretching, and reduce the onset of muscle soreness over the next couple of days.
- A 5-8 minute very light jog or walk straight after the race will help reduce your heart rate, allowing the body to wind down and maintain steady circulation.
- Also breathe deeply as this will supply your muscles with that much needed oxygen to help your muscles to recover efficiently.
- Undertake structured stretching* immediately after the walk, that includes all the core muscle groups, and continue to breathe deeply. Also do these same stretches the following day.
If you have the option of a massage after the event this will help reduce the muscle spasms that occur with vigorous exercise. It will also reduce muscle soreness and inflammation by flushing out the lactic acid that is produced whilst running, and promote muscle flexibility. Importantly this also decreases your chance of developing a muscle injury. So relax and enjoy, knowing you are doing some good!
A typical person loses around a litre of water for every hour of exercise in sweat. The best way of rehydrating after the run is with a sports drink containing sugars, water and salt.
Best post race grub
Studies recommend that you aim to eat a small high carbohydrate meal within 30 minutes of finishing the 10k race. It is during this time-frame that your muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose). Taking quick action will reduce the onset of muscle soreness. (Examples: bagel with peanut butter, a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt). If you feel like you can’t stomach solid food immediately after a run, try drinking some chocolate milk. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins —- making it a great recovery drink.
This should be followed 2-3 hours later with a normal balanced meal containing protein, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals.
See a couple of recipes on our blog for examples of good meals to have after the race.
As tempting as it may be, try and stay clear of alcohol as this will dehydrate you further and strip your body of much needed vitamin’s and mineral’s.
A good night’s kip
You body will be asking you to rest so go with it… early to bed. Remember bodily repair takes place between 10pm-2am and mental repair between 2-6am, so sleeping by 10pm will give you ample repair time.
Enjoy your achievements and take time to recover so take 2 days rest and then only very steady runs in the following week before getting back to structured training
What’s Next for You…
Don’t be a one race wonder- use the motivation you have to commit to further events ensuring you stay in training and charged full of energy!!
And if you really want to improve your times and avoid burnout I always recommend Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster to my clients, as it incorporates a weekly training programme using the quality-over-quantity approach.
Best of luck!