Race Recovery: Overcoming post-race aches and pains.
Ok, it just goes to show: you REALLY don’t know what running a marathon is really about until you’ve run a marathon. I thought I had a pretty good idea since I have been a runner most of my life, running some 5K’s, completing my first half, building my long runs up, etc. Little did I know, 26.2 miles will really impact your body. No matter how you shake it, 26.2 is a long ways and your body takes a beating getting it done.
There is a lot of information out there about what to do when preparing for and running a marathon, but not so much on what you should do following the race. I heard some people say things here and there, but didn’t give too much attention to their suggestions since I hadn’t been there yet. Now that I have been there, I certainly have a much better idea.
Here is my Marathon Race Recovery “To-Do List” that I will be using after my next race. (Yes I said “next one”! Painful as it was, I plan on doing it again!)
- Don’t Stop Moving! I have heard people “joke” about that before, but now I get it. If you stop, sit down, lay down, etc., plan on being there a while. My body tightened up more than Scrooge at Christmas.
- Have Tools Handy! With regards to #1 – I will definitely have my ProStretch Plus available for after the race. Nothing was tighter than my calves. I couldn’t stretch them enough after the race. My bet is you could almost make a living renting your ProStretch out after races for people to stretch their calves. (Not a bad idea…will have to look into that one.)
- Roll Out! Muscle rolling is perfect for all the other parts of your body that were hurting. You will want a hand held roller available unless your personal masseuse is there to assist you. My favorite of course, the RangeRoller, was great for hitting all my other sore areas besides my calves. My quads were tight and my RangeRoller was ready for the job. Not sure I would recommend a foam roller at that point; for starters laying on it after the race seems problematic (see #1 again) and not being able to control the intensity due to exhaustion may prove to be painful!
- Keep Drinking! Fluids are important during the race, but right after is just as important.
- Refuel! For those people eating cheeseburgers right after the race…..not sure how you did that. I am certainly not worthy. Having some light food like bananas and yogurt seemed to get me headed in the right direction though.
- Cool Down After! Staying close to the race was nice. Even my wife thanked me for that one. A nice hot shower was great. It got the sweat off and got me feeling normal again. Bath might have been nice, but I am not sure I could have gotten out. J
- Take Some Ibuprofen! I am not a big proponent of medication, but a little ibuprofen after the race helped take the edge off of things.
- Be Comfortable! I had a long car rides afterwards, where I had my foot in an awkward position driving home for 3 hours. I paid for that one. My foot hurt for 2 weeks afterwards from where I was resting on it.
Well, that is my new “To-Do” list for post race recovery. I hope you find some of my tips useful and pain preventing! Share with me some of your tips for race recovery by leaving a comment. Whether your training for about to finish a race, good luck!