You did it! You trained hard, planned accordingly and now, with worn soles to show for it, you’ve crossed the finish line. But when those race day endorphins subside, the reality of the wear and strain of your exertion can be an unpleasant aftershock. While a little discomfort is to be expected, there are measures athletes can take to avoid excessive pain and exhaustion. We reached out to the pros at Parkview Sports Medicine for their tips to a smooth recovery after race day.
Parkview Sports Medicine Clinical Dietitian Christine Sorg
“Post-race, it’s important to refuel those depleted muscles! Shoot for foods high in carbohydrates with a moderate amount of protein. To get really technical, you should consume 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates/kg body weight within 30 minutes of finishing the race, and then at 2-hour intervals up to the next 6 hours, and 10-25 grams of protein post-race within 30 minutes of finishing and up to 3 hours after. This approach has been proven to aid in protein synthesis in the muscles. The overall goal is to replenish the muscle stores of glycogen and rebuild the muscle for the next exercise. Take advantage of the post-race treats and keep moving. For your first real meal, choose foods that are baked, grilled or broiled. Continue to maintain your hydration status by taking in fluids through fruits, vegetables, milk, sports drinks and water.”
What to eat right after: within 30 minutes of finishing, grab a chocolate milk; fresh fruit and skim milk; bagel with peanut butter; sports drink with a handful of nuts; dry cereal; trail mix; or graham crackers
What to eat for lunch: a grilled chicken sandwich or bison burger with lettuce and tomatoes; burrito or soft tacos with grilled vegetables; chicken or steak fajitas; grilled fish tacos; turkey sandwich with side salad; chili on a baked potato with refried beans and salsa
Parkview Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Lead Mackenzie Clark
“I would definitely suggest foam rolling after the race (that Saturday). My standard for foam rolling is approximately 1 minute per body part. I also would suggest foam rolling the day after the race, as well.
I recommend icing any sore body part. For example, my quads are usually the most sore after a half, so I would ice them as soon as possible after the race and again that evening. You can also apply ice to any sore body part the following day. Remember, 20 minutes on and 30 minutes off, as much as needed.
Stretching is also extremely important after the race and for loosening up the muscles in general. I would suggest stretching as soon as possible after the race as well as some light walking. The Sunday after the race, stretch and possibly take a light walk, simple yoga class or easy bike ride to keep your body and muscles loose.”