You spend hours running and training for race day, but once the day is past, it's all about recovery. Besides rest and fuel, how else can you help your body to recover from the race so you can start training for your new fitness goals? Here are some techniques that can help your body get ready to start training again:
Get a Massage
Massage has wonderful health benefits, but it can be especially good for athletes. After a race, you've pushed your muscles and tendons to the limit, and you might experience some soreness and pain, particularly around your joints and hips.
Part of this joint soreness comes from tightness in your muscles. You can relieve that slightly by stretching, but a massage will increase healing. A massage increases the blood flow to your muscles, which increases the amount of oxygen available to help accelerate the healing process. Deep tissue massage will also target areas of tightness that are placing pressure on your joints.
Roll it Out
Another technique to use post race is to get a foam roller to use on your muscles. As you sit on the roller, for example, and roll over your hamstrings, you will feel an even pressure that may at first be quite painful, but will actually help you as you keep rolling. Roll until a painful spot starts to loosen up, then move the roller to a new place and begin again.
Most runners know about the importance of hydrating as soon as the race is finished, but recovery can take a few days and you'll need plenty of water in order to recover quickly. If you are not diligent about drinking water in the days following the race, you'll have more muscles cramps, increased delayed onset muscle soreness, and you'll feel more tired than you otherwise would have felt.
Move in a Different Way
After months of daily training, it might feel weird to spend several days resting. After just a day or two, you'll be itching for some action-- don't go running. Instead, do some yoga, attend a Zumba class, or go for a swim. You need to give your joints and muscles times to fully recover before you get back into your old running and training schedule.
For more ideas on relieving muscle soreness, contact a local massage therapist, such as those at companies like Wellness54. They will be able to answer your questions about how massage can help you as you recover from race day.