In the week after Sydney’s biggest race, there is one thing that is probably on the mind of a lot of runners – recovery! Here are my favourite things to do for post-race recovery.
Rest – You’ve earned it! This is probably obvious, but give yourself a break from doing anything too hardcore in the few days following your race. A couple of years ago, I made Marty walk part of the Cinque Terre trail in Italy two days after the Berlin marathon. To be fair, I probably didn’t realise how hard it would be. But it was hard. Don’t follow my lead!
Take a break from hard sessions – In the few days or week after a hard run, you want to let your body recover and your muscles repair. Skip any speed sessions or hard runs you would usually do in the few days following a race, and replace them with some easy running.
Keep moving – It can be really tempting to rest completely after a race (and sometimes you need to). But I like to try to keep moving with some light running to avoid feeling tight and heavy when I start up again. If you do want a small running break after a race, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga or other light activities are a good option.
Foam roll – This should really be done all the time. But if you struggle to find time to fit everything in, prioritise it during recovery from a race. You will probably be running a little bit less, so use some of that time to get on the foam roller. It doesn’t have to be much, a few minutes a day to loosen up the tight muscles from your run will be a big help.
Put your legs up the wall – Marty loves this one. Lie on the floor with your hips against the wall and put your legs up against the wall. You can do about ten minutes total, or even 5 minutes on each leg if you want to change it up and do one at a time. It’s a great way to stretch out your hamstrings, and can be quite relaxing. Marty reads a book while he is doing it, I prefer to flick through Facebook, though you can also stretch your arms out to the side and just tune out.
Drink lots of water – You might be a bit dehydrated after the run, so it’s a good idea to drink a bit of extra water. This is a good idea in general anyway, I have a bottle at my desk that I try to refill at least three times a day.
Get some early nights – This is another one that is good anytime, but even more important after a race when you are recovering. And I will take any excuse I can get for some extra sleep!
To read the things I do in the week after a race, click here.