Race guide: Post-race recovery

Post-race recovery

Bouncing back with care

Alright, let's talk post-race recovery—a phase that's often underestimated but oh-so-important for keeping your body in top condition. As both a running coach and someone who's logged countless miles myself, I've learned the hard way just how crucial it is to give your body the TLC it deserves after pushing it to its limits. So, let's explore the ins and outs of post-race recovery, keeping things humble and relatable along the way.

When can I start running again?

Ah, the million-dollar question. After crossing that finish line, it's tempting to lace up your shoes and hit the road again, but hold your horses. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to give yourself at least a week of rest before easing back into your running routine. This gives your body a chance to recover fully and reduces the risk of injury. This week could be a week of complete rest, or a week of easy running or a week of something in the middle. It changes from runner to runner, but what’s consistent is that jumping straight back into full training is not the way!

Helping your body recover:

So, what should you be doing during this recovery period? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Replenishing lost fluids is key to helping your body recover and repair. Reach for water, electrolyte drinks, and nourishing foods to refuel and rehydrate.

Gentle movement can also work wonders for sore muscles. Take a leisurely walk or try some light stretching and mobility to help alleviate stiffness and improve circulation. Just be sure to listen to your body and avoid anything too strenuous.

Immediate aftermath:

In the immediate hours following the race, your body is in need of some serious TLC. Start by refuelling with a balanced meal containing a mix of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats to kickstart the recovery process, a pint of Guinness never fails me. And don't forget to stretch at some point that day! Spending a few minutes loosening up tight muscles can make all the difference in how you feel the next day.

My approach to post-race recovery:

As for my own post-race routine, it's all about giving my body the time and attention it needs to heal. I make sure to hydrate like it's my job, sipping on water and electrolyte drinks throughout the day. I also prioritise gentle movement, whether it's a short walk with the dog or some light mobility to iron out tired muscles. For me personally, I struggle running the days after a hard race so I cross-train for at least 2-3 days before running again.

And let's not forget about rest. I give myself permission to take it easy in the days following a race, knowing that my body needs time to recover fully. It's all about striking that balance between pushing yourself and giving yourself the care you need to keep going strong.

In conclusion, post-race recovery is a crucial—but often overlooked—part of the running journey. By giving your body the time and attention it deserves, you'll bounce back stronger and more resilient than ever. So, take a deep breath, give yourself a pat on the back, and enjoy some well-deserved rest.

- Coach Lloyd

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