If you’ve been following me for awhile, then you know this past Sunday was the day of my second half-marathon! We ran a beautiful course in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. We were really lucky with the weather being warm and sunny when just days before it had been cold and raining.
Now that the race is over, good race recovery is super important. Here are some tips on How To Recover After A Half Marathon.
Recovery Phase One: After You Finish
Walk it Off
After you cross the finish line, don’t collapse into a heap! I know you are tired, but do a little walking to give your legs a proper cool-down & keep cramps at bay.
Continue hydrating after the race. Water is good, but if you have access to Gatorade, coconut water, or something with electrolytes that’s even better. There will likely be beer at the Finish Line. By all means, imbibe if you wish but keep chugging water as well so you don’t get dehydrated.
Stretch It Out
This one is a must. After cooling down for a bit, stretch your legs! If you were great about stretching while you were training, keep it up! Be thorough … stretch your hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and IT bands. You’ll be SO glad you did the next day and several days after!
Recovery Phase Two: An Hour to Several Hours After You Finish The Race
After you’ve done your stretching and had some H2O, find something to eat. Most races will have foods such as bananas, sports bars, etc. Not all races are created equal, so if it isn’t specified on the Race Day info that food will be available, bring some with you.
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep to facilitate the healing process. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body after an effort like this, so rest up!
Recovery Phase Three: A Day Or Two After the Finish
When you wake up the day after race, you are probably going to experience a little muscle soreness in your legs (perhaps elsewhere too). Keep drinking water and eat healthy vitamin-packed foods to speed up your recovery.
Schedule a Massage
After 13.1, you’ve earned yourself a massage appointment to work out the kinks and aches & pains due to the DOMS effect (delayed onset muscle soreness). Ask the therapist to spend extra time on your calves, hamstrings, or whatever is the most sore.
Do a Little Recovery Jog
Take a walk around the block or jog if you are up to it. This will help loosen up tight muscles and speed up recovery too. Two miles should do the trick!
Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! You just ran 13.1 miles — that is AMAZING! I see so many people beating themselves up because they didn’t meet their goal time. Stop the negative self-talk! You just did something incredible, so celebrate your awesomeness. And as they say, you still lapped everyone on the couch!! 🙂
To make things easier, I created this Half Marathon Recovery Checklist that you can Pin, Printout, Save, or whatever!
If you like it, give it a Pin!!