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What is the best way to recover from a race?

Recovery begins the minute you cross the race finish line and is an important part of the racing process.  Be sure to continue to drink water while walking and ingest some carbohydrates- most races supply bagels or bananas that can be easily consumed.  If it was a physically demanding race, within 45 minutes you should try to have some protein in the form of a snack or sports drink.  The protein will help speed your recovery by repairing the micro tears in your muscles. With some rest, you’ll be ready for your next race challenge.

To minimize your post race soreness hop in a pool. Deep water jogging the day after a race will aid recovery. Head to the deep end of a pool and mimic the run motion. Athletes can remain in place or move around while “jogging.” Try to avoid treading water, and instead maintain proper run form. Some pools have deep water jogging belts, these are fine tools, but it is also possible to deep water run without a belt. Moving muscles will bring blood flow to the area and help flush the metabolic waste (muscle breakdown) from the system. While it may feel somewhat uncomfortable, it is beneficial. A word of caution- there is good pain and bad pain, know the difference between the two and push the good pain to speed recovery, hold back on the bad pain (often the pain of an injury, a muscle strain or a tendonitis of sorts), fully heal and then dive back in to the training. Also make sure to take a recovery drink immediately after a race. I like to put recovery powder in a water bottle and store it in bag check. Then at the finish line I grab an extra bottle of water and mix up my miracle drink. Skipping this step is a bad idea and will just prolong recovery time, eating into precious training days between efforts. Another tip: a little goes a long way- what do I mean by this? Five minutes in an ice bath will make you feel like a million bucks the day after a hard effort- be it the marathon or a hard training day.

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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.