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How to Recover From a Race

This week so far has been all about letting my legs rest up and refresh after last weekend’s speedy GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler! I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite tips for how to recover from a race. I’d love to hear some of your favorite tips, too, and please check the end of this post for a relevant giveaway!

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1) REST – but consider some light walking

I generally take at least a day or two of full rest after a race, sometimes more depending how intense it was. That said, I do usually incorporate some very light walking as it makes me feel better than sitting all day and letting my legs tighten up. Since the weather has been nice, getting in a short walks hasn’t been hard; I got in a nice walk on Sunday after the race while listening to a podcast, and this week I’ve gotten in walking in the form of my commute downtown (it’s about 25 minutes of walking each way).

2) Do Yoga

I love yoga even more than usual when I’ve been doing a lot of running, and especially after a race. If you’re really sore, I’d wait a day or two, or make sure you are taking a class that isn’t too intense, but stretching things out gently can really help with recovery.

Last night, I hit up Edge Yoga with Chelsea for our fave 6 p.m. class that the owner, Mark, teaches. It’s a lightly heated Yoga 1 class (although his idea of Yoga 1 = still challenging, just FYI). Felt great, as always!

edge yoga arlington

I have plans for another yoga class tonight with my friend Karen, this time at Epic Yoga via ClassPass right after work. Tomorrow morning I’ll be getting back to the track to meet my training group, but will keep things low key.

3) Sleep

Your body needs time to repair – give it the rest it needs to do so! I’ve been making sure to get in bed earlier and/or sleep in a bit longer (aka no morning workouts) so far this week, and I find it makes a big difference with recovery.

4) Foam Roll

I’m a HUGE foam rolling fan – it helps me a ton on the recovery front when my legs are tight/sore to roll them out a bit. If you don’t own a foam roller, buy one immediately. I’m serious. Do it.

foam roller

For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, a foam roller is just a round piece of hard foam that you roll your legs (or butt/hips) over after running to help massage your muscles/work out some of the tightness. Here’s a nerdy video I made a couple years ago on how to use a foam roller – you can also use it by holding yourself on sore spots to release them, but I usually just roll around slowly like a massage. I try to foam roll once a day, usually before bed, when I’m training for/recovering from a race. It feels amazing on my upper back, too!

5) Wear Compression Gear

You guys already know that I’m a huge compression sock/sleeve fan and have been racing and training in compression gear for years now (compression sleeves were the solution to a tight calf/ankle situation I was dealing with a couple years ago, in fact). For the half marathon distance and above, I wear compression socks (or sleeves, if it’s hot out) during the race, and for all my longer training runs, too. If my legs feel achy at home, I wear them around the house, too. For anything under a half marathon distance, I don’t usually wear them for the actual runs anymore (especially once it’s hot out), but use them a lot for recovery.

I’ve had all of my compression socks/sleeves for years now and they are starting to lose their tightness, so when the team from Champion CSX reached out to me about doing a sponsored blog review of their compression socks I was all about it. (#fluffyphotobomb #sheisobsessedwithme)

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Their compression socks are designed to help with injury reduction and recovery. Built with the greatest support/pressure at the ankle that reduces gradually up the leg, they work to reduce the diameter of the superficial veins in the lower leg, helping to improve blood flow. Improved flow can help protect, energize, and renew tired muscles.

They sent me two pairs to try – one pair of socks with 15-20 mmHg pressure level and one with 20-30 mmHg. I honestly couldn’t really tell the difference between the two, so if you pick up a pair, I’d go for the higher pressure ones – go big or go home, eh?

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I’ve tried a ton of compression gear and I have to say these socks are very high quality – comfortable and effective. I also really like that they are made of moisture wicking material and have an odor reducing anti-microbial treatment.

My only criticism of the socks (which also applies to all the other brands I’ve tried) is that I’d love to see compression socks/sleeves be created that are really breathable/lightweight while still providing the compression advantages. I like wearing compression gear for long runs, but in the summer, they get SO hot. I gave this feedback to the Champion CSX team and they said that they are actually working on a lighter line – both in color and weave. Awesome! Can’t wait to try them.

Bottom line: I’d definitely purchase these compression socks with my own money and I recommend that you check them out if you are in the market for some! Use the code FANNETASTICSOCKS! (case sensitive) for 25% off any of the CSX compression socks collection. It’s good through May 31, 2015. And thank you again to their team for the opportunity to try them out!

I’ll end this post with a giveaway. Two fANNEtastic readers will each win one pair of CSX compression socks, courtesy of the Champion CSX team. Good luck and happy running/recovery, my friends! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. 1

    I like the compression socks for post recovery. I have not run with them during a run though. I use compression capris or tights. But it’s great to know that you’ve suggested to CSX about summer wear and that they agree and are including colors! YAY!

  2. 2

    Sleep is probably the biggest thing after a race — especially because I usually celebrate a hard effort :)

  3. 3
    Charlsie N says

    I’ve been wanting to try compression socks so bad. I know their worth the investment but $30 is a lot for socks.

  4. 4
    Allison G. says

    I have never really done a long enough run or race to really need much of a recovery, but I did rest an extra day after my latest 5K, just because I felt like it.

  5. 5
    Charlsie N says

    Sleep lots and lots of sleep and stretching

  6. 6

    Rest days. And a beer!

  7. 7

    hydrate!

  8. 8

    SWIMMING!!! Hydrostatic pressure is great for increasing bloodflow.

  9. 10

    Hi,

    This is a great post ! Thanks for the link about foam rolling… I think I need to “roll” after each run since I am very sore lately.

  10. 11

    I am a big fan of the compression. I usually wear PRO socks, but I recently tried a new company and they were also a big hit with me. I really only wear them when I am running distances over 6 miles, and I can tell a difference when I don’t!

  11. 12

    Foam rolling, foam rolling, and more foam rolling… Hurts so good!

  12. 13

    electrolytes and coconut water

  13. 14
    Chris Anne Spehar says

    I love my compression socks and I also have some CSX ones. They all feel great, I wear them to help with my tight calves/Achilles tendonitis. I love this to recover with, in the same vein as a foam roller, but I think easier to travel with. Although, you obviously can’t do your back or arms…it’s great! And I love taking a long lie in the sun to recover (after some serious food/drink, etc)!

    http://www.rollrecovery.com/r8/

  14. 15

    Walking or a light elliptical workout – something to loosen up!

  15. 16
    Sarah Evans says

    Legs up on the wall pose. I could lay there for an hour!

  16. 17
    Elizabeth H. says

    I’ve never done a long race–doing my first half marathon this Saturday!!–but after my long runs, foam rolling has been great for recovering (especially for IT bands!)

  17. 19
    Jessica K says

    walking, getting up frequently at work, yoga, and swimming!

  18. 20

    yoga!!

  19. 21

    i enjoy wearing compression socks for recovery and would love to try this brand! My dad has been dealing with ankle issues and has been trying out several different brands – I definitely want him to try these!!

  20. 22
    Shannon B. says

    I’d say stretching and staying hydrated are my biggest recovery must-dos!

  21. 23

    I’ve never tried compression socks but have read great reviews about them. I’d love to try a pair!

  22. 24

    I love legs up the wall and restorative yoga!

  23. 25

    Hydration!

  24. 26

    Sleep!

  25. 27
    maria lowery says

    I have never tried their brand of compression before, but would love to try them out.

  26. 28

    I just recently became a convert of compression sleeves. During my last half marathon training cycle, I dealt with some intense shin splints, and the sleeves were a huge help on my legs. I ran with them during the DC RNR and Cherry Blossom 10-miler and I could definitely sense the boost they gave me.

  27. 29
    Allison D. says

    Compression gear is my go to recovery tool, along with stretching, a smoothie, and if it is over 10-12 miles, an ice bath. Works great for me.

  28. 31

    I love foam rolling! It feels so great on sore muscles

  29. 32

    I just bought my mom some compression socks for flying! I want to try some out too! :)

  30. 33

    A smoothie is my favorite recovery snack from any workout! And I could literally wear compression socks all day every day. I love the squeezy feeling on my calves.

  31. 34

    I love stretching and getting lots of sleep!

  32. 35

    I like ice baths if I run further than 13 miles. I just got my foam roller a couple weeks ago and it’s definitely a must for recovery now!

  33. 36

    Stretching/foam rolling are key…as is staying hydrated and getting a lot of sleep :)

  34. 37

    Honestly rest (both sleep and from exercise) is my biggest recovery must do. Also, after the celebration (which of course has to happen) a little extra hydration and refueling are on my to do list.

  35. 38

    Foam rolling and taking a spin class

  36. 39
    Meghan B. says

    Sleep and I also swear by compression sleeves/socks. Without them I am a shin splint mess!

  37. 40

    I’ve only ever used compression socks during recovery…they seem like they’d be hot or itchy during a run/race! Do they make a huge difference during a race?
    That said, I do love to recover in them!

  38. 42

    compression socks and hydrate! drink all the water :)

  39. 43
    Taylor G. says

    I am planning on running my first marathon in the fall, so I will have to incorporate compression socks into my recovery! My favorite recovery tool is definitely foam rolling. Hurts so good!

  40. 44

    I’m a huge foam rolling fan too!

  41. 45

    Been meaning to try compression socks! And foam rolling! So many things to incorporate into my post-run routine…

  42. 46

    Definitely agree with you on foam rolling! With Sunday races, I also bring a massage stick with me to work so I can (not so) surreptitiously massage my legs in my office.

  43. 48

    I tend to take a full rest day two days after the race, and on the next day after the race, I try to do something low impact (spin class) to get the muscles moving without pushing too hard.

  44. 49

    Compression, stretch/roll, and sleep!

  45. 50

    Foam rolling and walking to prevent tightness are what I do to recover from a race.

  46. 51

    Get out for leisurely walks – I find that some movement helps!

  47. 52

    Yoga and going on long walks ;)

  48. 53

    I always make sure I drink a lot of water after races (even though I usually drink a lot of water in normal life). Especially living in Texas, it’s often hot and humid for a race so the extra liquid is critical.

  49. 54

    I love taking an ice bath!

  50. 55

    I have never tried compression socks. The sound great though. Might be good for work – since I am on my feet all day.

  51. 56

    hydrate and eat well the week after! don’t use the race as a free for all on food!

  52. 57

    Thank you for the information on the compression socks! I’ve been curious about whether they actually work or not, so it’s good to get your perspective on them. And thanks for the giveaway!

  53. 58

    Lots of foam rolling, compression and protein to repair muscles!

  54. 59

    Lots of water, good food, foam rolling, and rest!

  55. 60

    Getting some rest!

  56. 61
    Kelsey R. says

    I second your walking advice — I think it’s a life saver for sore legs!

  57. 62

    So far, I’ve only tried compression ankle socks, but I really want to see if the knee highs are as good as everyone says they are!

  58. 63

    I agree that doing yoga after a long run feels great!

  59. 64

    Drinking lots of water, eating “recovery” meals with lots of protein and carbs (sandwiches and frozen yogurt FTW), and sitting/laying with my legs elevated while watching great shows are my “tricks” to race recovery.

  60. 65

    Recovery time — lots of rest and relaxation!

  61. 66

    foam – wish I could get a massage!

  62. 67

    eat a lot of good food.

  63. 68

    Hydrate immediately after!

  64. 69

    I agree with wearing compression socks (and shorts) after a tough race for recovery – I usually sleep in the compression gear post-race. And as you mention, hydrate, re-fuel, sleep!!! and some light activity like walking or swimming. I also let myself take some time off running if it was a tough race and I’m feeling “burned out” from training. So I’ll try other activities I enjoy until I “want” to run again.

  65. 70

    Lots of good food & foam roll!

  66. 71
    Caroline M says

    Stretch, hydrate, and rest! But walking is also definitely helpful!

  67. 72

    After an especially long run or a long race, I do love my compression socks. They’re my best post-race recovery tool. I think that they make a lot of difference in the way that my lower legs feel in the 24 hours after the race. (I also love them for long airplane or car rides.)

  68. 74

    Walking! Nothing better than a gentle walk to stretch out the muscles

  69. 75

    Sleep probably helps me the most. I can always sleep an extra hour or two after any long run or race. I also make sure to hydrate and foam roll.

  70. 76

    I haven’t tried compression socks but I’ve great things about the benefits of them!

  71. 77

    I love recovering with compression socks and compression shorts – helps the glutes so much when I nap after a race!

  72. 79
    Whitney H says

    Walking and hot baths!

  73. 80
    Holly Miller says

    I love recovering with beer…ok not a great tip ;) But I do like to recover with a refreshing snack like a smoothie or chocolate milk. Especially in the summer!

  74. 81

    After a big race I always like to treat myself to a pedicure, haha. I just feel like my feet deserve a nice massage and being made pretty after a tough race :) Usually I wait a couple days if I’m real sore so its enjoyable not painful.

  75. 82

    compression tights and socks for sure!

  76. 83
    Doreen MacLean says

    I’ve never actually worn compression socks… I’ve always been a little skeptical because I just think to myself… what? How can socks do that? I should get a pair and try. Also, I looooove foam rolling, and also rolling a lacrosse ball under my foot–after a long run, or just after a long day on my feet. That and a soak makes my feet feel so much better.

  77. 85

    I like to take a bath with a mixture of Epson salt, ground rosemary, thyme and lavender.

    • 86

      I’ve done epsom salt baths, but never with the herbs – interesting addition! What’s the reasoning behind that?

      • 87

        I am not 100% sure, I came across the recipe on the web over a year ago and noticed there was a difference when I used the herbs vs. When I did not. I believe that some of the herbs have anti inflammatory properties. It also smells amazing.

  78. 89
    Stephanie says

    I’m training for a half marathon this year. I’d like to try compression socks to see how they work for recovery.

  79. 90

    I find that if I eat protein RIGHT after a race (usually I can stomach chocolate milk), makes a HUGE difference in how I feel the days after a race. It absolutely helps with recovery!

  80. 92

    hydrate!

  81. 93
    Christine says

    I just started wearing compression sleeves during my runs and it’s made such a huge difference! I definitely need to try out the socks!

  82. 94
    Dana Longwell says

    I love to use compression socks, sleeves and even tights (in the winter) for both running and recovery. My favorite way to recover is to get a deep tissue massage 4 or so days after a race!

  83. 95
    Christine says

    i like to do an easy walk to recover. this helps me feel stretched out.

  84. 96

    Nap afterwards

  85. 97

    Foam rolling is the best! a PVC pipe with a little cushion works well for this too (and is like 1/10 the cost!)

  86. 99

    I want I want I want! I’d never heard of this brand before. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

  87. 100

    I usually eat a delicious treat to fuel myself back to normal, and then almost always have a post-race massage booked :) It helps!

  88. 101

    Rest days with walking are best for recovery. Your body obviously needs the rest and walking is a good way to stay loose and keep your mind from going crazy!

  89. 102

    I agree that walking/light exercise is great for recovery…helps my muscles from getting too tight!

  90. 103

    A great yoga class!

  91. 104

    Foam rolling and easy walks are my usual plan. In the summer, relaxing in our pool feels great! Ice cream and/or wine are sometimes necessary :)

  92. 105

    make sure to drink lots of water and eat healthy meals!

  93. 106

    Foam rolling is the best! Also love a nice easy swim!

  94. 107

    Definitely walking! Makes my legs much less tight and recovery quicker.

  95. 108

    Chocolate milk and sleep are my favorite ways to recover.

  96. 109

    Lots of yoga and walking! I love incorporating more gentle activity into my routine to help keep my muscles loose.

  97. 110

    Your recovery sounds a lot like mine: rest, stretching, foam roller, ice and compression socks.

  98. 111

    I love wearing compression socks during long run recovery. I’ve never tried wearing them during an actual run though – that would probably be a good idea during winter though!

  99. 112

    Yoga and lots of sleep!

  100. 113

    Usually lie on the couch with ice packs strapped to me…someone bring me food!

  101. 114

    I just ran my second marathon Saturday, so I’m still in recovery mode. I’ve been swimming, taking walks with my dog, doing yoga, and took a spin class this morning. I wore compression sleeves during the race and put my compression socks on in the evening and I do think they helped!

  102. 115

    I love foam rolling and stretching after a run!

  103. 116

    Sleep is key fro me

  104. 117
    Erin Espy says

    I love compression socks for recovering after a race. Also, a big fat cheeseburger! :)

  105. 118
    Michelle H. says

    I’m all about the foam roll! That and a lot of sleep.

  106. 119

    Foam roller!
    And do something later in the day whether walk, shop, etc. A nap is good but then get up and move.

  107. 120

    I prefer a light breakfast, some rest and a nice, slow walk before a yummy lunch. More rest at night :)

  108. 121

    Walking and TONS of water works best for me.

  109. 122

    Wearing compression socks after a long run really helps me!

  110. 123
    Colleen C says

    I usually walk and stretch to recover but I am interested in trying compression socks.

  111. 124
    Doreen G. says

    Hydration, stretching and a good night’s sleep!

  112. 125
    Danielle says

    I love the stretch of a good yoga class!

  113. 126

    I think I am definitely going to have to get some compression socks. I have always has trouble with my shins, plus I am doing the Tinkerbell next weekend (my first half marathon) and I’m flying home a few hours after the race. I’m going to tighten up like crazy on the plane if I don’t get something.

  114. 127

    I like to walk, eat some protein, and relax in a bath!

  115. 128

    LOVE legs up on wall! Yoga-ish pose right when I get back from long run/race. I put my legs up on the wall for 10 mins!

  116. 129

    I would say all of the above, but I love a Starbucks Chai after any race (even though there is probably no health value to it at all :))

  117. 131
    Laura W says

    Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Preferably with chocolate milk, water and electrolytes!

  118. 132
    Jeanette says

    Stretch and foam rolling!

  119. 133

    I love the idea of Yoga :) Plus one important point many people forget is Sleep!

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