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How to recover after your big race

What do you need to know to recover well after a race?

Racing brings us a lot of joy. We put a lot of effort into our training to prepare for these races and we put our body through a lot when the race day comes.

But what we don’t often consider is the Post Race Recovery Plan. The plan that allows us to return to running safely and prevent injury or future running burnout.

I recommend a runner take at least 3-5 days off from strenuous running. I do however support slow, conversational pace runs of 15 to 45 minutes to help gently load muscles during its repair recovery period…but if your body is not feeling up to it, it is essential to listen to your intuition and give yourself some grace. Time off or low loading gives our tendons, muscles and joints time to heal and be filled with oxygen rich blood.

Despite taking some time to rest, the body does not always fully settle back into its ideal, organic alignment, especially if that race pushed you quite hard.

You may notice a few nuances during the next few weeks week, for example…

A twist in your pelvis.

One side of your back is sore.

A twist in your neck.

Or one shoulder blade that rests a little high next to your ear.

If we return back to running too soon, those little nuances may not fully recover or reset, and ultimately effect your future running performance.

So what do you need to consider post race? These are simple thoughts but simple is all we need.

  1. As mentioned above, take some time to reduce the intensity of your runs to low loaded runs or completely rest from running for a few days to allow the body and micro muscle tears to heal. Follow your Intuition and give yourself some grace.
  2. Take some consideration into replacing the fluids lost and rebalancing salt levels for the next 5 days post race.
  3. Book a session with a health practitioner that understands the demands of running and alignment that first or second week post race to help you get back to that ideal running form. Pre-booking that session is highly recommended to make sure there is a spot ready for you.
  4. Sleep and Rest. We want the body to recharge and reset after these races so the tissues and microtears can heal. Sleep is not always easy to manage. Young kids, shift work etc. can play into your sleep and recovery. It may not be perfect but putting intention on rest in the next few weeks will only assist in keeping you running the long game.
  5. Active Recovery. I talk a lot about cross training and the role of variety. If you cannot bear to thinking being off running for a few days post race, this may be a good time to work on the ice baths to flush toxins and lactic acid, yoga to stretch and release, Pilates to work on breath and stability, or recovery swims in the pool or cycling.

Recovery can be simple. Am I eating enough this week? Drinking enough water? Resting more? Seeing a good health care practitioner to guide my training and recovery? Am I performing kind, mindful, movement? Am I listening to my body and am I giving myself grace?

Putting intention into all of these thoughts the week post run will prevent running burnout and injury. I want all of you to be Well Runners so we can run up the bridges when we are 80.

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