The importance of recovery is very crucial for runners, especially after a long race. When you push your body to run for hours, you’re not only battling pain and fatigue during races or training; you’re also causing micro-tears in your muscles. Hence, downtime is always very important to repair your muscles and help your body recover.
Oftentimes, runners neglect the importance of recovery because there is something so off-putting about the idea of not running for some time But learning how to respect recovery can not only prevent injuries from happening but also allow your body to adapt to your routine and improve.
Aside from our active recovery routine and having rest days from running, here are 4 tips from Pinoy Fitness to help you recover faster after races.
1. Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is not just a fad or another fancy accessory that is an alternative to our normal stretching routine. Foam rolling has been getting a lot of attention lately because it really helps runners in muscle recovery and aids in decreasing post-race soreness. Self-myofascial release or application of pressure to release the tension in our muscles happens during foam rolling and this type of therapy leads to several benefits like improved flexibility, better circulation of blood, and reduced muscle soreness.
2. Eat to Recover
Eating the right food 30-60 minutes after a race is very important in the process of recovering and replenishing your glycogen storage. In fact, all runners always look forward to the food they’ll eat after tiring themselves out in a race. It is the most awaited reward and arguably the best form of celebration after a good run. Sometimes, it’s even all we think about while running! But it’s important to eat well in order to help your body recover faster and better. So always remember that your post-race meal should have lots of carbohydrates and protein, and a little amount of fat.
Related: 10 Healthy Things To Eat After Running
You’ve heard it before but there can never be enough emphasis on how important hydration is for anyone, especially runners. Sure, we hydrate during our races but that is very minimal compared to the precious water, minerals, and electrolytes that we lost during our run. Hence, it’s very important to rehydrate (a lot!) as soon as you finish your race.
Related: 6 Reasons Why You Should Hydrate Properly
4. Ease muscle soreness and prevent cramps
I think most of our readers will agree when we say that a quick definition of torture for runners after a race is to go down on any staircase the day after the run. This is a scenario that we are all too familiar with – feeling like you can do anything and everything the moment you cross the finish line, and then followed by several “Ouch! My legs hurt” and “OMG, I can’t move” statements the day after the race.
This feeling of stiffness or soreness in your muscles 24-48 hours after a run is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. DOMS happens when your body has been exposed to more muscular work than usual (i.e. running long distances) causing microscopic tears in the muscles. Now, we get that there is pleasure or a certain feeling of accomplishment for getting muscle soreness after a race. It makes us feel that our workout was effective and that we “ran our heart out”. But truth be told, most of us need to go to work the following day and it’s difficult to handle DOMS when we are expected to do something else. It decreases our productivity during work and well, it’s just really a hassle to feel pain every time you move.
To ease the pain from DOMS, some runners immerse themselves in an ice bath for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the swelling and soreness in muscles. Although many athletes have been found to do this exercise, we have to admit that it is quite impractical and difficult to do. Most of us simply can’t commit to immersing ourselves in a bathtub full of ice after a race.
But, there’s a simpler alternative to ice baths that runners can do right away – applying ºA-Game Aftersport Rubdown. Since DOMS is believed to be the result of inflammation due to micro-tears in our muscles, relaxing the muscles is a good way to relieve the muscular pain. ºA-Game Aftersport Rubdown uses Magnesium in their formula to help our muscles relax and cool down by producing antibodies to ease the inflammation and fatigue experienced by our muscles.
Magnesium is an integral mineral when it comes to faster muscle recovery as it allows muscle relaxation to occur and serves as an anti-inflammatory. When we race, we lose lots of electrolytes like magnesium and drinking water can’t replenish these. Hence the effectivity of having ºA-Game Aftersport Rubdown is to allow our body to absorb magnesium and thereby help in easing the muscle soreness.
At the end of the day, we can only run our best if we listen and take care of our bodies. So take your recovery seriously, runners!
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Sources: running4women | runnersworld | webmd | active | activationproducts | sportsinjuryclinic