Running takes a toll on the mind and body, especially after completing a race or a major training goal. You need time to recuperate. To recoup fully, we recommend making recovery a priority and creating a plan to achieve it.
First, let’s look at why you need to recover. What exactly goes on in your body after a race?
Most runners think of their muscles when it comes to recovery, and rightfully so! You need to rest your body, even if you don’t feel stiff or sore. When you run, your muscles are broken down, and they need time to rebuild. During long, hard runs your immune and nervous systems are also temporarily weakened, which can leave you vulnerable to an increased risk of contracting a virus following a race. Resting, refuelling and reenergizing between races is key.
It’s also important to remember that runners experience more than physical fatigue. Another element that is often overlooked is mental exhaustion. Running is 90% mental, which means you need to look after your brain if you want to perform to your potential.
Now that you understand the impact running has on your mind and body, you can plan your recovery. As you’re planning, make sure you take into account the following:
Diet and Hydration
Water is a must throughout the day and especially before and after your race. Hydration is essential in the process of rebuilding muscle. So even if you aren’t training hard right away, drink up. About 30 minutes after your race, have a healthy, protein packed snack. During the days and weeks after, avoid falling into unhealthy eating habits. By all means, allow yourself a treat, but stick to your regular routine including healthy fats, carbs and proteins.
Take a few days to a week’s break from running altogether. Walk or cycle if you feel like you have to move. Then, slowly build up to your full training potential over another few weeks. Remember, the longer and harder the race, the longer you need to recover.
Massage and Chiropractic Care
At Cadence Chiropractic, our goal is to optimize the cadence of your sport. Angela has been a runner her entire life. It’s part of who she is. She has run competitively at the varsity level as a sprinter and recreationally ever since, from 5 km’s to 1/2 marathons. Through a comprehensive analysis, we can help you recover and prevent injury as you continue to train.
Planning your recovery is an important task that will keep you moving. So, make sure you’re ready with your plan after your next race. When executed as intended, an effective recovery plan can take your performance to the next level.