5 Must-Dos after a Long run/Race

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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.

bfitfivefriday

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.

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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).

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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?

CRJ’s 5 Quick Elevation Tips

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I have run during a vacation at elevation — nothing too crazy, between 4000 to 8000 ft — for the last three years. If you’re considering running at higher altitudes, I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and sharing the tips that have worked to make my elevation races go well.

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Arrive early
I know that it’s not always possible for people to take a real vacation around a race, but if you’re planning to do one at elevation, I’d definitely suggest it. Your best bet when it comes to acclimating to altitude is to actually spend time at elevation.

Rather than take your vacation days after the race, take them before the race, which gives you some time to acclimate — it doesn’t completely work, because it takes roughly two weeks to get used to elevation.

If you can’t get there until a day or two before your race, you may be able to race just fine, but most likely you won’t feel your best.

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Start at a lower elevation and then go to a higher elevation to help acclimate

Go from lower to higher
If you’re visiting an area where there are towns at different elevations, start at the lower elevation and work your way up to the higher elevation. Mt.Everest climbers start at base camp, go to Camp I, come back down to base camp, go to Camp II, and so on.

The more gradual change in altitude allows your body to adjust a little easier.

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Even on short hikes, I always carried water with me

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Elevation causes you to breathe more rapidly, which actually causes you to lose more liquid due to your higher respiration rate. Humidity is also tends to be lower at higher elevations (which was quite lovely in both UT and ID). Not to mention that altitude sickness will also feel worse if you’re dehydrated.

Take a sleep aid
It is not actually recommended to take sleep medication at altitude, as your respiratory rate during sleep at altitude can already be slower — and many sleep meds lower it even further. The exception, apparently, is Acetazolamide. I did not try this medication.

I do use a melatonin supplement, Good Day Chocolate Melatonin (Amazon Affiliate link), which I’ve been using occasionally for quite a few months. It’s basically melatonin and valerian, and it tastes like chocolate M&Ms — because if something can be done in chocolate, I will find it.

I found it helped, and I made Mr. Judy try it too. We didn’t suffer with insomnia as much as we have in the past when we’ve traveled to higher elevation locations.

Try Aclimate
I also used the supplement Acli-Mate(Amazon Affiliate link) when we were in ID. I made Mr. Judy take it, too. We also did all of the above steps, and we found that this was the first trip where we spent a fair amount of time at altitude and didn’t really suffer from symptoms we’ve experienced in the past. From the Website:

Delicious, naturally colored and flavored electrolyte replacement drink mixes with added vitamins and minerals for convenient, hydrating nutrition. All formulas contain B-vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.

Rhodiola root, Schizandra berry, and Ginkgo leaf extracts are added to our Mountain formula for enhanced acclimatization and mountain performance.

We were never at a very high altitude during this past trip — I think the highest we got was 6700 ft, and my race started a bit over 5000 ft. Yes, I had some GI issues after my race, but since I ran multiple times while taking Acli-Mate over the course of the week and had no issues (other than the fact that I ran at normal paces, which is abnormal for me at elevation) and Mr. Judy had no issues at all, I’m pretty sure that the supplement was not to blame.

More altitude resources:

Have you ever run a race at a higher elevation?

Any other tips for acclimating to higher altitudes?

What conditions would make you pass on a race?

8 Ways I Recovered from My Longest Runs Ever

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While my longest long runs were definitely a bit of a struggle, I recovered from them really well.

I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and sharing eight, not five, things I did to recover properly. Most taken from my own posts on recovery!

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Walk it in
I try to always end my runs so that I have at least a quarter mile walk back to my car — if not longer. 17 miles was no exception. I probably walked about a half mile until I got back to the car.

Stretch it out
I am not as good at post run stretching as I am about dynamic warmups, but I made it a point to do a brief stretch after both my 15 and 17 milers, and even used my Original Worm (Amazon Affiliate link) immediately after the 17 miler to quickly roll out the achy areas.

Immediately After: a Protein Bar
Luckily I have protein bars that I enjoy. And even though long runs can sometimes rob me of my appetite — as does humidity — and I got socked with humidity for both my 15 and 17 milers — I was able to eat a protein bar immediately afterward.

Change & legs sort of up the wall
I will runfess that I didn’t shower immediately after those runs. I was too tired. Of course I did eventually shower because I was also pretty darn disgusting! But I had to get out of those damp running clothes the moment I got home. In reality I could’ve gotten out of them in the bathroom at the park, but I just wanted to get home.

Then I laid down on the bed with the dogs, and elevated my feet up the bookcase headboard of our bed. Not quite legs up the wall, which I did do later, but helpful all the same.

Nuun
After I’ve recovered a bit more, it’s time for some water + Nuun.

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Protein + Carbs + Indulgence

Grazing & indulging the rest of the day
I never really experienced true runger after either of those longer runs, so I guess I did a good job at getting in what I needed. On the day I ran long, I tended to kind of graze all day, definitely trying to emphasize protein to help along recovery. But there were definitely treats, too; and not the healthy kind, either.

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Keeping my legs happy with my ShinTekk

ShinTekk + foam roll
My body seemed to really miss the ShinTekk while I was on vacation. It actually ended up being almost 2 weeks away — I think that’s part of why my shins were so darn sore after my half. I knew I needed to get right back at it when I got home.

And of course somewhere in there there was foam rolling. My body was practically begging for it.

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Recovery yoga

Namaste & Good Night
Right before bed I did Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners (Amazon Affiliate link) Foundation segment. I don’t follow it exactly as she leads it — I throw in some lunges and some pigeon instead of the tadasana, and a little bit of toe yoga, too. But I really like that it ends with legs up the wall.

You might also like:

What do you think helps you recover faster from a hard run/race?

Compression socks: never, during, after or both during & after?

Do you have a favorite yoga recovery pose?

5 Ways to Recover Faster

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Sometimes running gives us more energy, and sometimes it grinds us down and spits us out. There are ways to help make sure you recover from a hard run so that the next run will be good, too.

I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share five things I do to recover.

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Hydrate + Electrolytes
You may only drink water during the race, but you’re losing electrolytes through your sweat. So you need to hydrate and make sure you get some electrolytes back into your system.

Keep Moving
It is so, so tempting to just sit down and not move once you finish a race, but if you keep walking around you’ll recover faster and feel less stiff and sore in the following days. Notice I said less — you can expect some stiffness & soreness!

Recovery Snack
You haven’t just depleted your electrolytes, you’ve depleted your glycogen stores too — you know, the things that give you some get up and go. So you need to restock them. Can’t face real food? A smoothie or chocolate milk can start you on the road to recovery.

Compression socks
There is a lot of debate on whether or not compression socks do anything for you while running — although I do feel as though they help — but most research agrees that wearing them after your run can speed u your recovery. One of the main ways compression socks help recovery is by increasing blood flow to your muscles and joints, which helps them get the nutrients they need to recover.

Legs up the wall
Or the couch. Or a stability ball. Or raised on a pillow.

What do you think helps you recover faster from a hard run/race?

Compression socks: never, during, after or both during & after?

Do you have a favorite yoga recovery pose?

5 Ways to Recover Better

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I truly believe that recovery is almost as important as training when it comes to racing.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share five ways to help speed up recovery after a race or hard run.

Won’tstopcan’tstop
I totally get it: you’ve run the race of your life and you simply can’t take another step after you’re done. But if you cross the finish line and just stop moving, you’re likely to feel more tired, not less.

A cooldown walk helps your body transition from hard effort to its normal resting state. It helps get rid of that nasty lactic acid that might be at the center of DOMS (delayed onset muscle sorness) quicker.

It’s really a good idea to walk around for a while before you take your well-earned rest.

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Make sure to hydrate well after your race

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
You generally can’t drink enough during your race to replenish fluids/electrolytes lost on the run. Not unless you love that sloshing feeling in your stomach or want to hit every portapotty.

If you’re like me and you prefer straight water on long runs (although I am really digging Lytezone — read my review here), you do need to make sure you replace the electrolytes you’ve sweated out on the run.

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Carbs + protein + veggies to refuel

Refuel Properly
Refueling is actually easier if you’ve fueled properly before and during your race. So don’t overlook increasing your carbs slightly in the days leading up to your race — carb loading the night before is probably not beneficial, and could actually be harmful (making you too full and sluggish), but that doesn’t mean you need to nix carbs altogether.

The “experts” say that those first 30 minutes after a race/hard run/long run is crucial for getting in some carbs and protein, generally in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. You may not feel like eating — which works perfectly with point2: hydrate.

Drink water, grab that Gatorade or chocolate milk. If you do feel like you could eatallthefood, have a recovery bar or indulge in some of the post race food. Eat a banana, a bagel with peanut butter, cereal and milk — during your training is the time to experiment with your post race nutrition.

Refueling doesn’t end in those first thirty minutes, though. You want to try to eat a meal about two hours after your race. Shoot for a regular meal — some protein, some carbs, some veggies. And continue to restock your glycogen stores over the next few days with quality carbs (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oats, bananas).

Keep in mind I am neither a coach nor a nutritionist.

Legs up the wall
I have to admit, as someone who loves her yoga, I rarely remember to actually do legs up the wall — which is exactly what it sounds like, scoot your butt as close to the wall as you can get, then swing your legs up and rest them against the wall — unless I actually manage to get in some recovery yoga.

Legs up the wall will help your tired legs feel better, and relieve cramping and swelling among its many other benefits. I really must remember to do this since I am prone to muscle cramps in my legs — sometimes hours after a long run or race! And not only on hot days, I got cramps after Wineglass, too (read my review here).

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Can’t afford a post race massage? Foam roll!

Foam Roll
Foam rolling is simply an aided form of self massage. There are many benefits:

  • Helps break up knots
  • Helps increase mobility & flexibility
  • Helps break up scar tissue
  • Helps lengthen out those muscles that get so tight while running hard/long

Foams rollers aren’t expensive, they last a while (but the foam does eventually soften), and it doesn’t take much more than a few minutes of your time post run. The biggest problem with foam rollers is lugging them around — I’ve been known to do it with races we drive to, but when we fly, I bring my Original Worm with me (read my review here).

So let me know in the comments:

What is your top recovery tip?

What would you add (this list isn’t complete!)?

Do you even think about recovery after a race?