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 on how to recover from a race, too!
Tips: How to Recover from a Race
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
What are your best tips on ways to recover from a race?