4 Tips for Effective Post-Race Recovery

Congratulations! You’ve just completed the Platte River Half Marathon & Relay, one of the best races in Denver. Running a half marathon or relay race is an accomplishment that requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance — and you accepted the challenge! But now that you’ve crossed that finish line, it’s time for the next phase — post-race recovery. To ensure your body can take full advantage of your newfound success, here are four smart tips to help you with your post-race recovery.

Rest Your Muscles

After a long race, your muscles need some rest. Give your legs (and arms) a break by taking at least one day off from running or any other physical activity following the event. You can use this day to stretch out your muscles, foam roll, or just simply relax — whatever works best for you! 

  • Stretching helps improve range of motion, reduces muscle tension and stiffness, and decreases soreness — just what your muscles need after running a 13.1!
  • Foam rolling increases blood flow, which helps flush out lactic acid buildup from all that running so that you can feel better faster.
  • And relaxing? Well, everyone needs some downtime once in a while to recharge their batteries and get ready for more training!

Eat Nutritious Foods

What we put into our bodies is just as important as what we do with them when it comes to post-race recovery. Eating nutritious foods like lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and veggies will help replenish energy stores while also providing essential vitamins and minerals to rebuild muscle tissue and strength. Additionally, make sure you drink plenty of water and electrolytes immediately following the race, but also in the days after, to prevent dehydration that can cause cramping, headaches, and other unwanted symptoms.

Take an Ice Bath

Hydrotherapy is excellent for post-race recovery. If you’re feeling particularly sore after running the Platte River Half Marathon & Relay, consider taking an ice bath to reduce inflammation and soreness in your muscles. Fill up a large tub with cold water (around 50°F) then add half a bag of ice cubes or a few handfuls of salt  — this will help bring the temperature down even further. Soak in the icy water for 10-15 minutes, then slowly warm up with a hot shower afterward — your muscles will thank you later!

Get Plenty of Rest and Good Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for healing and recovering after exerting a ton of physical and mental energy in a half marathon. As we sleep, our bodies have time to repair muscle damage caused by training and pushing our bodies in a race. Sleep also restores energy levels depleted during intense exercise activities like running a half marathon or participating in a relay race. In the days after crossing the finish line, make rest a priority. Aim for 7-9 hours per night, and if your body craves a nap, don’t fight it!

Congratulations, again, on completing your race! The Platte River Half Marathon & Relay was no easy feat! To ensure your body can stay healthy and perform at its best in subsequent races, it’s essential to follow proper post-race recovery protocols like what we’ve outlined above. Doing so will not only help you feel better quicker, but it can also help prevent injuries as you start training for your next big event. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year’s half marathon and relay in Denver — we can’t wait to see you back at the finish line!