5 Must-Dos after a Long run/Race


You may have been #runningallthemiles during the Pandemic, but if you haven’t, you might be a little rusty on what to do after a long run — or race (still haven’t raced, not looking to anytime soon actually).

This post is a little reminder to myself — maybe something will resonate with you, too.


I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 ways to jumpstart your recovery after a longer/harder run or race.

1: Move!
It’s really tempting to go home and veg on the couch all day after a harder/longer run or race. I have been guilty of this! You will recover better (be ready to run sooner rather than later without feeling wiped out) if you keep moving not just immediately after your run, but throughout the rest of the day, too.

Put your legs up the wall, too, before you go to bed. Seriously, I mean that literally! Very soothing to tired legs.

anonymous woman warming up in park during workout with instructor
Stretch out right after  your run, even if it’s only a few minutes! | Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

2: Stretch while you’re warm
Warm muscles stretch easier. Which is part of why you want dynamic stretching before a run, but static holds can be okay post run.

3: Hydrate
You will lose hydration when you run long or race. You can even weigh yourself before & after to see how much, although I admit I’ve never done this. I keep thinking I really should, but then I never remember to.

Just like you need to refuel, you need to rehydrate. You won’t feel quite so tired if you start hydrating as soon as possible. If alcohol post run/race is your thing, just remember you might want to alternate with good ole water. Alcohol doesn’t really count as rehydration, no matter how good it may taste (to some).

strawberry smoothie on glass jar
A Smoothie post run can both hydrate you & refuel you & it’s easy to digest, too! | Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

4: Have a snack
You will have burned through your glycogen (carb) stores most likely. Want to recover quickly and be ready for that next run? Have a snack. Think more protein than carbs, but obviously you need some carbs, too.

I like either a small protein bar — or a smoothie. If you have no desire to eat post race, which isn’t uncommon, you may be able to tolerate a smoothie. Add some fruit and greek yogurt or protein powder (greens will help too — start with just a bit and you won’t taste it).

5: Compression
Maybe you race in compression socks. If you don’t, wearing some post race is a great way to get some blood to your legs. If you have those Normatec boots (or something similar) — lucky you! Even better!

Final Thoughts
It really doesn’t take much time to do these five things. They will start you on the road to recovery quickly, and the next run should feel a lot better.

What’s your go-to snack post race?

What’s your go-to beverage post race?

Which of these do you need to work on?

22 thoughts on “5 Must-Dos after a Long run/Race

  1. Chocolate milk. I now bring it with me so I can drink it after.

    All good tips.

    I don’t hydrate much during so yes after.

    I rarely stretch but sometimes when I’m waiting for others to finish. Unfortunately it’s usually rush off to eat.

    My favorite post long run activity is my hot tub. If you don’t have one, just take a long epsom salt bath. It works wonders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My post run rituals are walk a bit, hydrate immediately and have a small snack. right now that is milk w protein powder. Shower, stretch and then eat a regular meal. sometimes I so love a hot tub soak as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are all important, but for me the magic one is “move.” I’ve done 20 mile runs where I had to keep going all day long, and wasn’t sore at all the next day. I’ve also done 12 mile runs where I lay on the couch all day and was very sore the next day. So… motion is lotion!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to laugh when I read the first paragraph. I have a friend with who I have done a lot of marathons. She is famous for planning a hike/stair climb/adventure right after the race. There is no downtime with her.

    My favorite post-race snack is soft pretzels. I love it when the RD gets these. I also love popsicles in the warm weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. another resounding YES! i can do all of these things except… stretching seems to be a difficult task! Really need to work on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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