Most experienced runners have a good handle on how to recover after a marathon.
And if you’re new to the distance, we have a very popular article on helping you plan your rest and recovery period. But there’s far less understanding when it comes to shorter race distances like the 10k and the half marathon.
How hard are these races on your body? Do you need a lengthy period of rest and a gentle, easy return to running program after a half marathon, or can you barrel right back into training?
That is what we are going to explain in this article today, and then give you the best advice we can give about how to reduce your recovery time (and get be less sore) by “listening to your body” to know when your body is ready to start running hard again.
We know this is the last thing runners want to hear (trust me, we are cringing even writing this), but its true. Make resting a focus.
Now, when we say rest, we do not mean lying on the couch for a week, barely moving, using your loved ones as slaves to bring you what you need while you recover, but after a race, your body does require extra time to divert the love and attention to your aching muscles.
This means getting to bed an hour earlier than you would have, and taking a little more time each day to put your feet up and be still, especially in the first few days following a race.
Make sure you do move around. Go on a short walk to make the most of your down time, or play catch with your kids. This will help get the blood flow moving, meaning when you do rest, your blood is full of fresh blood to help clear the bad stuff.
Although we would not recommend getting a deep tissue massage the afternoon of your race (or even the day after), a few days after the race, a massage is a great way to flush out the soreness. Get your massage therapist (or even a friend who is in a good mood) to work on encouraging the tight spots to loosen up.
If a full body massage is unrealistic, foam rolling out your muscles is a great second option. Make sure you do not make these 4 foam rolling mistakes though!
Refuel with recovery foods
Although some trashy magazines may lead you to believe so, there is no magic pill to help your body recover. There are however some foods that can promote healing, and reduce the muscle soreness you feel.
These foods should be incorporated into your diet and eaten as often as possible. The more you are able to build them up in your system, the better prepared your body is going to be at moments like this. We talked about this more in our podcast with Dr. Steve Gangemi, and the more you eat these kinds of foods, the better you will feel.