6 Rules for Race Recovery

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Age we continue to age, we can still challenge ourselves, but we must recover right.

It’s 2 days after my 21k trail race and I’m still a little sore, I’m not gonna lie. I was fairly well trained, but as usual, I pushed myself as hard as I could. Trail running is one of my favorite things, I try to do about 5 or more races each year and I always look forward to this one in January because it keeps me training through the holidays. Nonetheless, I still have to recover and while there are many ways to recover from a race or a tough workout, there are a few smart tips I found work best for me. Here they are.

My 6 Rules of Race Recovery:

Stretch

This is something I do immediately after I race. A few slow stretches to make sure my body begins the recovery process. Later in the day, I prefer some Yin Yoga, it’s long holds in hip openers. I have a great 30 min sequence in Beachbody On Demand. If you’re not a member, get it here.  It’s the best deal in fitness!

Nutrition

As soon as possible, hopefully within 30-45 minutes, I drink my recovery drink. It includes 20gms of protein which, studies show, is the optimal amount your body can process. I also make a commitment to eat right all day long. It’s important to replace all your lost electrolytes and protein. Your body has been pushed, now it’s time to rebuild. Protein and green leafy vegetables, among other things, have the necessary nutrients to rebuild your body even stronger.

Foam Roll

I have the HyperIce Vypor, it’s a vibrating foam roller and it’s AWESOME! Get it and see the difference! Obviously, any model will do, but definitely get the blood moving through your system. It will help you tremendously on the road to recovery.

Sleep

At least 8 hours on race day. If you’re like me, you get race jitters. I rarely sleep well the night before a big race. So, after you’ve left your heart, soul, and a few limbs on the course, it’s time for rest! If you’re used to waking up early, make sure you go to bed at least 30-60 minutes before your normal bed time. I recommend 7-9 hours on a regular basis, but definitely 8 or more on race day. Our bodies recover best during sleep.

Stay Active

While rest is the most important thing for recovery, it’s also important to get your blood moving in some way. You can walk, jog, get on a bike, do some yoga, or anything else you want. Don’t push your body too much the first day or two after a race because you’ll increase the inflammation and decrease your immune system, but definitely move around a little. Breaking up the tightness usually feels great.

Meditation & Visualization

This is my bonus tip. I use it and I know it helps me. I’m a regular meditator, so I’m not going out on a limb here and recommending meditation. I am, however, recommending that if you’re going to meditate, visualize healing. Visualize your body repairing itself better and stronger than you were before. Imagine yourself going back out onto the course and performing even better!

Some of these tips I use after a big workout or race and others I use everyday. Feel free to do the same. Stay healthy, play hard, and recover right! I’m always here if you have questions, just shoot me a message @teddymcdonald.

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