Many believe that once you finish a run or even race, the work is done.
How you recover will determine your success (or failure) on your next run and even possibly your next race.
There is a reason there is post-race food, we need it for a proper recovery. You have a 30-45 minute to replenish your protein and carbs. Go passed that window and your recovery will be hindered.
After the big HOORAY'S and getting your medal, follow these steps to ensure you are setting yourself up for a healthy and successful recovery.
1. Drink water. That doesn't mean GUZZLE water. Your stomach has spent a few hours pulling the blood away from your intestine to help your muscles operate. Take a couple swigs, let it go down and keep doing that until your water is gone. Guzzling and can lead to stomach distress.
2. Eat carbs. They may be in the form of bagels, fruits or juices. Stay away from the sports drink for a bit. That doesn't mean walk right over to the beer tent. That comes later, also.
3. Get a good stretch out. I carry "The Stick" in my back pack. I begin rolling out my legs within the hour of a finish.
4. Keep moving. No, you don't need to RUN, but keep moving by slowly walking around. You don't need nor want muscle cramps.
5. Good and light stretching. No bouncing. Enough stretching to feel good. If at anytime you feel a cramp coming on, don't stretch but run the muscle. Add icing to your sore joints, if necessary.
6. Considering you have ate, massages, walked and stretched out properly - wait at least an hour to drink any sports drinks or beer.
7. Continue to drink LOTS of water for the next 4-5 hours. If at anytime your urine is clear. Stop drinking water and wait an hour to start drinking again. You don't want to be under hydrated, but you don't want to be over hydrated, either. Even if you did not sweat at lot during your race, your kidney's have worked very hard, they need replenishing.
8. Continue to stretch out and self-massage for the remainder of the day.
9. Eat a lot of lean and healthy proteins for the next 72 hours. No sauces, salts or sugars. They will impede your recovery.
10. Most importantly, REST and SLEEP. Nap if you need to. Pay attention to your body signals.
How do you recover from a race or run? Please feel free to share with a comment
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored Brand Ambassador for RobKellerMD.com
*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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