Half Marathon Series: Post Race
So you have just crossed the finish line to your half marathon. Now what?
At the race:
For me, the first thing I do is grab some water or gatorade. No matter how much hydration you are syphoning down during the race, there is a high likelihood that you are dehydrated. I need to watch what I say here because there is such a thing as too much water and it is deadly. But if you have been skipping race stations, it is hot outside, and you are feeling lightheaded, grab a sports drink.
I then try to find a quiet, out of the way place to do some runners stretches. This article has a few stretches that I do often, but I try to go through a series of stretches that target the main pain offenders: hip flexors, IT band, quads, hamstrings and calves.
Then, it is off to find FOOD. I always carry a protein bar in my race bag, but some smaller races will have a decent spread. After the Endurrun, I feasted on fresh, home made bread, hamburger patties, vegan sweet potatoes and swiss chard, a smoothie and a gluten free brownie. But I can pretty much guarantee that not every race will offer such an amazing spread. Here is an important point: I normally am not hungry after racing. Seriously. Despite burning thousands (yes, thousands) of calories, what happens in a race is that the blood used for digestion will often be distributed in other areas in your body to maintain your activity level. So even if you don’t FEEL hungry, you should eat. Your body’s stores are low in glycogen and it is important for a swift recovery that you get it in you! I normally have to eat a full plate of food while not feeling hungry, despite how counterintuitive it may feel, but it has done wonders for my recovery time.
After you have collected your medal, checked out your official time, eaten and stretched, it is time to go celebrate your achievements!
After the race:
But you are not finished yet. It is time to go home and hop on that foam roller to flush and stretch out your muscles whenever you feel sore or have extra time.
Both the foam roller and The Stick are great tools for relief for muscle tightness and soreness. I find the roller best for after a run at home and often take The Stick with my when I travel.
Ice! I try to ice down my thutt (a made up word for thighs and butt) and calves after the race, but in the following days, if pain is lingering, smack a few cold things on your leg. Try to wrap it in a towel or cloth so you do not get frost bite on your skin. (Aka not what I do). I try to keep it to about 15 minutes an area.
PROTEIN. I use the following formula for muscle repair and recovery:
And sleep. The best thing of all!
What are some of your tricks for recovery?
Jillian C. says
Thanks for this Half Marathon series! I’m training for my first in December, and I’ll definitely be using all of your tips!
Awesome. Let me know how the half goes! Good luck. 🙂
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat says
Ok, I am only JUST catching up on your recent posts because my life has been all over the place lately, but holy WOW, that sounds like an awesome post-race spread!! What exactly is involved in vegan sweet potatoes aside from sweet potatoes? You’ve triggered a huge craving and I think there might have to be a grocery store stop on the way home tonight. Like you, the foam roller is one of my fave post-race tricks. I also recently got to try ‘the stick’ at my friend’s house, and am desperate to get one (especially after CFP this past weekend – legs are still screaming at me!!) In addition to those things, proper nutrition is a huge one. I like to use lots of anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon after a hard race or workout – I just pop them all in my smoothies with a bunch of other goodies and voila – it’s a recovery cocktail! 🙂