June 19, 2023
RECOVER LIKE AN ATHLETE
Having a proper recovery process after a big run is crucial in preventing injuries and ensuring long term performance. That's why we've asked our athletes for their top tips on how to recover like a pro. Read on below for some essential tips on post-run recovery.
Recovery is really important for me, having a number of large Goal Races throughout the year, especially after the big runs of 100km and over.
Move. So important is the next day, I always try to either get into the Ocean, or a Hydrotherapy bath the very next day and include some walking
Whilst I may not run for a few days, I definitely do something every day post run, increasing the time and effort gradually.
A Massage or Stretch session within 7 days also works for me.
Eat and drink a balanced meal with plenty of protein and carbs as soon as possible after finishing.
Gentle movement; staying lightly active for the rest of the day post-run and avoiding long periods of sitting will help with blood flow and have you feeling better the next day.
Prioritise getting in enough sleep, especially after longer or harder runs. If you're lucky enough to have the time a nap never goes astray either!
Get some fuel into you ASAP. Ideally carbs and some protein in real food but if you are on the run like me I keep my go-to is to rehydrate with some water and also have a Red Bull to get some quick fuel back into the body in the car before breakfast.
Nothing beats a little self-maintenance on the roller or rolling on a ball for your glutes if you have time. If I can grab 30mins to switch off, watch a bit of Netflix and treat my body I'm a whole lot better for it at the end of the day.
Main tip and probably the most important one is to sleep that night. No ones going to argue there.
When it comes to recovery, I find it easy to be overwhelmed by the 1%er's. Luckily, the most simple techniques for the recovery are the most simple, and you don't need any fancy equipment for them! So, in order to also remind myself, my 3 key tips to recovery are:
Sleep. In training having a good routine to ensure adequate duration and quality of sleep is essential. After a trail race it's important to sleep well to bounce back healthily. And a power nap post race will help you party all night long!
Eat and drink. Have a carbohydrate snack directly after finishing, a serving of protein as soon as possible and a normal meal within 2 hours. Keep it flexible, sometimes you won't feel like eating certain foods, usually anything is better than nothing.
And possibly the most difficult for me - make sure you have some mental recovery and relaxation. After a trail run or race, it can be tempting to catch up on some work or school, or get some chores down around home. Take some time to chill out after a run, whether that is soaking up the view from whichever awesome location you have been trail running in, or spending some down time with friends and family.
1. Food & Drink
The effort we put into nutrition and hydration during a race should continue for at least 48 hours after your race. It can be hard to calm down post-race which means your body is still burning those precious calories so you need to stoke that fire bigtime! I think about replenishing my body as quickly as possible with what I know I lose during a hard effort. Salt, electrolytes and water are the three I try to put back into my body straight away and keep focusing on until I go to sleep that night. Once I start on that it's onto helping my body get back to being fully functional which means protein, carbs and fats ASAP. Eat big, eat well and eat what your body is craving but also what you know it needs.
Depending on how you feel post-race it's important to remember that any light movement at all is better than none. Up until bed on race day I will spend a lot of time sitting and allowing my body to repair itself while making sure I get up every so often to walk a few laps wherever I am. Nothing too wild and totally depending on how you feel this might look like laps of your living room while watching TV or a walk down to your local cafe and back. Very slow and more about getting the blood moving around your body to aid the recovery than anything. The day after a 30 minute, flat and slow bike ride is the best thing I have found to make my legs feel good.
Often after races you get lots of messages from loved ones, might be staying with friends in a house or cheering other people crossing the finish line after you which are all massively enjoyable parts of doing races. For me, it's really important to remember to put aside at least half an hour to lie down on my bed, close my eyes and think about what my body and mind has just allowed me to do. I find if I don't do this straight away I don't do it or I don't remember the post-race feelings accurately enough and what comes out of this moment of self talk is what you can build on for your next one!