Starting next weekend I have three races in three weekends at two distances (trail 5k, road 13.1) and I’d like to PR both types of events. Recovery is going to play a big role in how successful I am at these events, especially since I’ll be flying to and from the first one. Whats works best for everyone’s recovery is different but this is my plan to keep my body ready for hard work. With the ultimate goal of replenishing what I used during each race and repairing any damaged muscles, here are the four pieces that make up my recovery routine over the next few weeks.
Food. Burning through 1,500 calories or more over a half marathon race morning can definitely deplete glycogen stores and refilling them properly is very important. After crossing the finish line, I’ll immediately grab some easy to digest carbs for my, probably, growling stomach (I don’t eat anything during a half marathon race). Next up will be 10-15 grams of protein and healthy fats through peanut butter, chocolate milk or whatever protein bar the race is handing out (as long as it meets my other nutrition standards: I know what everything in it is, mostly). These quick post-race eats will hold me over until I can get to a bigger, healthy, filling and replenishing meal within two hours.
Fluids. Hydration is something I work on daily by taking in at least 60 ounces of water and often working towards more. Immediately post race, I’ll down at least one 16oz bottle of water and maybe a chocolate milk. I don’t like the sugary sports drinks that are typically provided in the finisher area at races and choose to refill on electrolytes through my quick salty carb snack (pretzels, if available) or the GPS Hydration I always carry in my race bag. I’ll continue to consume at least 16oz of water each hour for three more hours post-race.
Foam rolling. Before, after, and if I could, during. My favorite recovery and stay ready tool, I love my foam roller and its friend, the lacrosse ball. There are lots of benefits to foam rolling aside from the fact that it feels good. It’ll get blood and oxygen flowing back to my needy muscles by breaking up any adhesions created by my race effort, help me relax and prevent soreness.
Compression. I’ll be flying to first of these races and wearing my BioSkin compression gear on the flight will help keep the blood, oxygen and nutrition flowing through my muscles while in the air so I can arrive with fresh legs. I slide, or tug, compression gear on for recovery after each race’s foam rolling session and again before boarding my return flight to keep my legs feeling good even when I’m stuck in a crunched seat.
That’s the recovery I’ll be doing after each race and on the days between as I run in three different states (two new!) in May’s first three weekends.
What’s your favorite way to recover? What do you like to eat just after a race?