Running gives you a great workout that challenges both your body and your mind. When you cross the finish line in a race, your body is exhausted but your work is not over. After you exercise, you need to restore your body’s balance and power. Adhering to these post-race recovery tips will give you the edge for a more rapid recovery.
First, water is the most essential ingredient you put into your body. Water helps in your recovery by cleansing wastes from your system. It helps dissolve nutrients and carries them to all parts of your body. Always stay hydrated, and drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty yet. As runners, we should drink up to three quarts of water a day. After a run, you should drink about 16 ounces of fluids and more if you run longer. Staying hydrated after the event will aid in a faster recovery.
When you exercise, your body burns carbohydrates for energy and breaks down your muscle tissue. Complex carbohydrates are key to any athlete’s diet because they provide a steady, nutrient-rich energy supply. Immediately after your race, your body utilizes glucose in order to rebuild and recover from your intense effort. Fruits, energy bars, and pretzels are quick, easy snacks that help initiate your replenishing process.
Runners also need to replenish their electrolytes. Electrolytes affect fluid balance in the body and are necessary for proper functioning of your nerves and muscles. When you exercise, you lose electrolytes through perspiration. One way to renew your electrolytes is by drinking a sports beverage. These drinks help restore your body by preventing dehydration.
Repair and restore your body with proteins. Proteins are essential in the repair of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Muscle proteins power you through your race. After a strenuous race, new muscle proteins must replace damaged ones. Good sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fibers essential to a runner. Bananas, a good source of potassium, are believed to decrease cramping.
Recovery and regeneration are crucial training concepts that enable you to produce the results you want. Following your race, enjoy several rest days or easy training days to help accelerate the recovery process.
Amanda Manthey is a former collegiate runner at Eastern Michigan University. She writes about running and fitness on behalf of Dave’s Performance Footgear.