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What exercise can I do after running a race?

After running a race, you want to take at least three days off from running. Yep, you read that correctly: no running. There is very little to gain by rushing back to pounding a few miles; the risk of injury has been shown to be very high. Get back into your normal daily routine, and walk. This will help facilitate blood flow through your muscles. Gentle stretching and light massage can be also used to help loosen up stiff muscles.

On the fourth through seventh day, pick one day to run an easy route of up to four miles. Cross train one to two days for up to 40 minutes with minimal effort. This will warm up your muscles and increase blood flow. Continue with stretching, and progress to a deep tissue massage.

On days seven to 14 post-race, you can run up to six easy miles on three to four of those days. Increase cross training to one to three sessions, progressing to two medium sessions up to 45 minutes. Be sure to continue stretching.

Two to three weeks following the race, run three to five days up to eight miles. You can also include gentle running drills such as strides, butt kickers and high knees. Increase cross training to one to three sessions, progressing from one easy, to one medium, to one hard session for up to 50 minutes.

After running a race, it is important to keep moving. This will help your muscles recover. A nice long walk after a race can help prevent muscle cramps. Other exercises like stretching and yoga will also help. It is best to not stop abruptly and lie down following the race.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.