TotR: Race Recovery

Welcome back to Tuesday on the Run with Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and me!  Sorry this post is a little late this morning, I was taking some of my own advice on race recovery (today’s topic)!

If you follow runDisney at all, you probably already know that the Wine & Dine Half 2014 was chilly and very very wet.  Combine that with wind, slick roads, darkness and thousands of other runners and you don’t get great running conditions.  And I was woefully undertrained.  Illnesses, injuries, work and travel all resulted in me only getting up to 10 miles before the race and that was about a full month ago.  All that means that while I finished and had a lot of fun during parts of the race, I was extremely sore and tired afterwards.  Race recovery tips to the rescue!

Here’s what I did to make sure that I’ll be able to run again just a few days later:

1.  Eat something and rehydrate as soon as possible.  Luckily at the Wine & Dine Half this was easy!  For whatever reason, I crave red meat after a half marathon.  Last year, I got the filet from the booth in Canada (yum!) and this year I got the pesto beef skewer from Patagonia (yum also!)  I also made sure to drink some sports drink and water right after I finished.  The standard advice is to eat something with both carbs and protein within 30 minutes of finishing.  Dark chocolate almond milk usually hits the spot for me, but I forgot to pack any in my after-race bag!

2.  Keep moving.  Another great benefit of runDisney races is that this advice is easy to take when you have after-parties for night races and the parks to enjoy for morning races.  While I often feel like curling up on the bed and sleeping for hours, the best thing for recovery after a long or tough race is to keep moving.  A slow pace is great, staying active for a few hours after the race keeps you from stiffening up.

3.  Massage.  If you can get a massage right after the race or even within 24 hours, it can help your sore and tight muscles and tendons recover a little more quickly.  Plus, any excuse to get a massage is good to me!


4. Ice Bath.  If you have the opportunity and feel up to it, an ice bath can help reduce inflammation.  15-20 minutes is plenty.  However, after this race, I got really chilled walking around in wet clothes, so there was no way I was going to take an ice bath.  Plus, my room at the Swan had a shower and no tub so it wasn’t really an option.

5. Rest.  Take it easy the next few days.  Keep moving, but if you’re feeling sore or tired you might not want to do any strenuous running or cross training for a few days.  I’m going to try to go for a short and slow run today to loosen up those muscles but if it hurts, I’ll turn it into a walk instead.

I didn’t do #3 or #4 after the Rain & Dine this weekend, but I did the others and while I could barely walk (literally) after the race, I’m already feeling up to a short run today which I think is wonderful!


What are your best tips for recovering from a race or long run?  Make sure to check out the TotR linkup!

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TotR: Race Recovery — 27 Comments

    • I read somewhere that distance running can give you mild anemia from the breakdown of muscles and micro-tears so maybe that’s it. The salt is pretty awesome too. I’ve been loving soups during distance season too!

    • I need to give those a decent try! I’d definitely prefer them to ice baths!

  1. You had me at pesto beef skewer! During training for my first half, I realized after an 8-mile run, I didn’t have anything to eat at home since I hadn’t stopped by the grocery store yet (bad me!). I stopped by CVS and got a hot pocket from their frozen section. Do you know how good a ham and cheese hot pocket is after a long run?
    Lesley recently posted…TOTR: Another PlaylistMy Profile

    • Mmmm, it was so good! You’ve got me laughing at the hot pocket! At least you didn’t stop and heat it up mid-run!

    • I love it for race weekends. It’s more affordable than the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht Club and is still so convenient to the restaurants and shops on the Boardwalk and to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It has race transportation for Princess and WDW Weekend, but for smaller races like W&D, & Expedition Everest Challenge it doesn’t. For W&D I drove to the Expo and just walked over to the Boardwalk and took the bus to the race from there and then walked back to the Swan after the race through the International Gateway. The only downside is that there aren’t too many runners there for the smaller races (because of the transportation issues) so walking around the lobby in full on runDisney costume and bib can get you some strange looks! I’m a Starwood Preferred Guest member, so I often get rooms there for free with points (I still have to pay for parking and the resort fee) or for $75/night with a smaller number of points. It’s nice to have a frequent guest program since I go to WDW so often.

    • My technique is to get into the tub fully clothed (except my shoes). Pull on a polartec jacket and turn on the space heater. Then fill the tub with cold water while I’m sitting in it. Then my three year old dumps ice into the water (which he thinks is hilarious!).

  2. Pingback: Remembering My First Race | TEAM FIT MOMMY

    • So true!!! I’ve got a three hour car ride home after my next half and I’m worried it’s going to make me so sore!!

    • Yeah, it isn’t particularly pleasant. Although in August it’s not too bad!

  3. It definitely was a Rain and Dine Half Marathon. There was no way I would be willing to take an ice bath after this one. I was just so proud of myself for packing a change of (warm and dry) clothes and a poncho for the afterparty!
    KellPow recently posted…Home AgainMy Profile

    • I had the warm and dry clothes but I really needed a jacket! I should have just bought one! 🙂

  4. Going for a walk in the evening has been my best recovery. I walked all around in Epcot for my kid to meet Princess after PHM and I didn’t feel sore in the least bit. Same with Chicago Marathon. I hobbled all around Michigan Avenue for some shopping and by next day I didn’t even feel like I had run a marathon.
    Smitha @ FauxRunner recently posted…Cold Weather Running – What to wearMy Profile

    • I do think that the walking right afterwards is so helpful in speeding recovery!