Ahhhh, the race is over. You’ve accepted your t-shirt, stretched, grabbed a snack, and maybe even taken advantage of the post-race massages that are sometimes offered. So now what?
What comes next is the recovery stage of your race. This stage is just as important as the other preparations you made for the race. Your body has just given an amazing performance and now it needs time to rest and repair itself. Ice down any areas that feel sore, or take an ice bath if possible.
Gently stretch the muscles throughout the rest of the day. This will help prevent cramping and keep the blood circulating.
There is some discussion regarding the number of days a runner should rest before returning to the running trail. On average, the suggested time off is one day for every mile run. While rest for the body is important, this doesn’t mean that you have to refrain from exercise altogether. Gentle, slow-paced exercise can keep your muscles loose. Listen to your body and let it guide you.
In addition to physical recovery, a person needs to recover emotionally as well. One of the surprising aspects of running a race is the mental stamina required. Some runners might experience the “blues” after a race. This is a normal response. For more information about the Marathon Blues, check out this article:
Recovery is important for your mind and your body. Remember to recover at your Happy Pace, too!