Tips for race recovery

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I saw Catching Fire on Friday (it’s amazing and everyone should see it) and we celebrated Jeremy’s birthday on Saturday by making a special dinner and spending the evening in with Juneau.

Since race recovery is a very critical part of running, I thought some recovery tips were definitely worthy of a post. I followed some of these better than others after the Richmond Marathon and it has become pretty obvious which were neglected since.

1. Start the recovery right away. It can be tempting to sit on the side of the road after finishing a race and let the exhaustion take over. But continuing to walk, replacing fluids with both water and some sort of electrolyte replacement drink, and eating some calories as soon as you’re able will help jump-start the recovery process. There’s a lot you can do to help heal your body during those first 24 hours. Here is a great blog post about some of those steps – with an infographic to go along with it.


2. Feed the repair process. Your body is going to tell you when it wants food to aid it’s recovery and you should listen to it. This is going to be different from person to person. For me, I tend to have stomach trouble and less of an appetite during the day of a big race or long run. The day after, I am an eating machine and am constantly hungry. Don’t be repulsed by the fact that you are wanting to eat every hour, just go with it.

3. Give your immune system a boost. After putting your body through a really tough race, your immune system can be compromised. On top of that, races are often right around the same time that seasons are changing (late fall, early spring) which, if you’re like me, is prime time for getting sick. Wash your hands excessively and increase your Vitamin C intake either through your diet or through supplements like Emergen-C. This is one tip I wish I had paid better attention to in my recovery. I upped my Vitamin C intake before the race out of paranoia of getting sick but then gave up afterward. The result was catching a cold in the week after Richmond.

4. Sleep until you’re not tired. If it seems like you’re exhausted, it’s because you are. And sleep is the perfect time for your body to heal itself so make sure you get plenty of it. Even after you have gotten a few nights of really solid sleep, you may still find that a typical work day wears you out more than normal. It’s okay if chores and errands don’t get done. Relax!

5. Take time off. It’s hard for runners to take breaks but it’s important to do after a race. The amount of time is up to you but it’s important to be realistic about it. I would say that you should wait until you are mentally prepared to run again or when you are no longer feeling any soreness from the race – whichever comes last. If you are itching to get moving before then, do some walking, cross-training, or light weights.

I hope this helps someone else with a speedy recovery. Have a wonderful Monday!

What are your top race recovery tips and tricks?


2 thoughts on “Tips for race recovery

    • I’m haven’t perfected it myself. It’s definitely hard for me to not just be happy I’m done and slack off on the recovery part. I could definitely tell where I did slack off this time around though!

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