Whether you’ve just taken part in one of our 10K races or you’re recovering from a half marathon or even a shorter race distance, these top tips for post-race recovery from our Editor-in-Chief Chris Macdonald will ensure that you feel strong for your next run…
• Eat something healthy within about 30 minutes of finishing the race. A banana or another piece of fruit would be a good idea if you don’t fancy anything too heavy.
• Sip water regularly. Remember you’ve been losing fluids through sweat while racing, so you’ll need to make sure you’re fully hydrated.
• If you’ve done a long run, consider taking an electrolyte drink which will help replace salt lost through sweat as well.
• If you feel very stiff at the end of a race, make sure you stretch immediately afterwards and again that evening. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and be sure to stretch your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
• Never stretch cold. You could stretch after a warm bath at home, or make sure you walk around and feel warm before you stretch.
• If your muscles feel tight, use the foam roller to massage out tight knots. Most gyms have them or you could pick one up fairly cheaply on Amazon from around £15.
• Don’t run the next day. If your legs feel very stiff and you feel like you’d like to to do something, do a gentle moderate to low intensity form of exercise such as walking, rowing or using the cross-trainer. If you do decide to run, make it a gentle recovery run at a nice low intensity.
• If you’ve done a long distance such as a half marathon or marathon, get plenty of rest. Banking some extra sleep will help with your recovery.
• Don’t do anything competitive too soon after your run. If you feel stiff and sore, the following weekend is not the best time to try and nail that parkrun PB. Treat it as a recovery run rather than all-out competition against your friends!