By Erin Johnson
There are many ideas on what is the best way to recover from a big race. Here are a few ideas that runners can try. These ideas can also be used to recover from the big workouts prior to race day as well.
1. Walk after Finishing the Race.
Jeff Galloway and many other coaches recommend walking for a bit after finishing a race. While a runner may want to sit down, doing this could allow for lactic acid to build up in their muscles and start the process that makes muscles sore. Jeff Galloway’s website recommends that runners keep moving for at least a half mile post race. Big races like the RunDisney Walt Disney World Marathon have very long finisher shoots to help runners get their walking in.
2. Stretch or Roll out before Muscles get cold.
When walking, one tip recommends one should also be working on some dynamic stretches to keep their muscles from getting too tight post race or after a hard workout. Runners World Magazine has a couple of great videos that will demonstrate how to execute these stretches. Some races like the Vancouver Marathon have stretching areas set up near the finish with mats and rollers for runners to use.
3. Eat some carbohydrates within 30-40 minutes post race.
This is the tip that many runners find the easiest to follow. Many are hungry after a race and eat to replenish their stores of glycogen. The perfect post race or workout snack should contain carbohydrates, some protein and fat. Many runners find this perfect combination in chocolate milk. Outside Magazine has a few recipes that runners can try.
4. Soak in a cool tub.
Many runners take this advise as saying soaking in an ice bath, that is not necessary, just water that is about 20 degrees cooler than body temperature according to Jeff Galloway. Many runners do not do this and recover just fine. Some find that the cool bath helps a lot after super hard efforts. It is very common for Cross Country and Track runners to soak in ice baths post workout on their hard days as prescribed by their coaches.