So much love last week for Tri Tip Tuesday! And today I’m answering a question from the kickass athlete Kristen from Glitter and Dust (go check her out, she rocks!) about post race recovery. You ask, I’ll deliver.
Last week we talked about how to fuel during a race, but what about after? For those of us who do endurance sports like triathlons and marathons, we seem to posses this innate inability to sit still and that next training workout or race is always on our minds and horizons.
Recovery is difficult because the idea of sitting still when there’s runs to be done, rides to enjoy, and swims to conquer is a foreign concept to those of us used to cranking out workouts before the sun comes up and sometimes more than once a day. But recovery is vital and not recovering properly can cause injuries. And if you can’t sit still for a day or two to recover enjoy your 8 weeks to however many millions of months off when your doctors say no more after an injury.
|And after all that running some chocolate milk is greatly enjoyed!|
Getting off your feet is only part of recovery. Strap on your compression tight, stretch, ice, and maybe even treat yourself to a massage on those totally workout free days. Your sore and tired muscles will thank you.
Active recovery is also important. This is where you simply move your legs and body for about 30 minutes at a super easy pace. A very light run or spinning on a bike trainer or spin bike with little to no resistance. This will help flush out muscles and loosen them up relieving soreness. Another way for us triathletes to get some active recovery in while still “training” is to practice transitions on active recovery days. Set up a faux transition area in your driveway, bike down your street and back, transition, then run down the street and back. Do this a handful of times to get some active recovery in as well as some functional training. Those transition times count after all!
As for fueling post race, I’m a big fan of post race gorge fest of whatever sounds good when I cross that finish line. However, this is actually frowned upon. Sad, I know. After a race you want protein and carbs. Protein will help repair those over worked muscles and help prevent DOMS- delayed onset muscle soreness. Carbs will replenish your now very depleted glycogen stores and help you regain your energy. The day after your race a carb and protein ration of 3:1 in grams is exactly what your body requires. Make sure to take in some vitamin C too, because all that stress on your body from a long race lowers your immune system.
My favorite immediate post race nutrition plan includes chocolate milk, which hits a lot of nails right on the head in terms of nutritional needs for recovery. You’ll notice most races offer chocolate milk. There’s a nutritional reason for this, so drink up and enjoy! In fact, most post race foods, like bananas and pretzels, generally contain a good portion of your immediate post race nutritional needs, so take advantage of those free food lines at the finish line.