RACE RECOVERY 101
Monday, 16 July 2012
When you finally cross the finish line after a big race, the last thing you want to do is more exercise. Unfortunately though, sitting down immediately will tighten up your muscles and delay recovery.
It’s important to keep the muscles moving for the first few minutes directly after a race. Simply walking around will deliver more oxygen to the legs which will help flush out lactic acid. After five to 10 minutes of light moving around, it’s time to stretch.
In the following days, you will need do a number of stretches in order to loosen up the muscles but the best way to get a quick stretch through the back, hips, quads and calves is to squat.
It will get fresh blood into your legs while keeping your head well above your heart. Here's a start:
Squat - Standing with toes slightly pointed outwards, lower your body over your toes.
Steady Yourself - Placing your hands in a yoga “prayer position” will help you keep your balance. If you can hold on to something stable, then take hold and lean back as you squat to the ground.
Relax - Take a few deep breaths and stand up slowly when you’re ready.
Over the next few weeks it will be important to follow a recovery plan to ensure a full and speedy recovery. Here’s what we suggest.
One minute after: Hydrate and refuel with a carb/protein snack. Get an extra layer of clothing on to bring up your body temperature.
One hour after: Hydrate and eat a proper meal. Use active isolated exercises to reduce tightness in the legs.
One day after: Rest or go pool running if you want to get the blood going through the legs. Continue to hydrate and eat well and start to stretch both at morning and night.
One week after: Rotate short easy runs on soft surfaces with pool workouts, continue stretching and add some light strength work.
One month after: Increase your running but only up to half of your peak mileage.