Take Race Recovery Seriously

So you ran a race. GREAT!  But are you recovering properly?  Today, our racing season guest writer dares you to take your race recovery seriously.  Don't know how?  Amanda's got you covered:
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Check her out!

Do you take race recovery seriously?

I see it all over the place—runners who run a race on the weekend and then are back out there pounding the pavement HARD a couple of days later. While I understand getting caught up in the race high, I also cringe when I see this happen. Why? Because recovery from a race is something we all need to take seriously.

Racing breaks your body down, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Even a short effort—a 5k or 10k, is enough to do some damage. Yes, you didn’t go far, but you did (I assume!) go hard. Respect that your muscles want some downtime.

What I recommend is that, for races up to a 10-miler, you take the week after a race fairly free form. That is, no specific workouts that you must follow. Instead, let your body and mind be your guide. Feel like running? Fine, but keep it shorter and easier than normal. Feel like sleeping in? Do it. Consider also some light cross-training, something like an easy spin on your bike or a swim.

Later on in the week, if you are feeling truly recovered, maybe try a couple of miles at tempo pace. But if you get into the effort and feel a bit sluggish, back off. Your body wants a bit more rest.

If you’ve gone longer than a 10-mile race, I suggest stretching your recovery out even longer. This is especially true for a marathon, which breaks your body down more than you can even detect. For complete recovery, it can actually take as long as a full month.

Again, I’m not saying stop exercising. But what I am saying is that in the days and sometimes weeks following a race, your body is at its most vulnerable to injury. Take your training easier and shorter than you would normally and let the muscles heal completely before you step it up a notch. Follow this approach and not only will you avoid injury, but you’ll likely come back stronger for your next race. Good luck!

Amanda Loudin

Twitter: @misszippy1

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Thanks, Amanda!  It's too easy to revel in the joy of your accomplishment, but recovering properly is an important part of the process, too!  Dare you all to take her advice, and help your body heal, post-race. 

How do YOU recover after a big race?

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