The "Recovery" Zone
Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! You did it. You finished 13.1 miles or maybe 26.2 miles or even a 50k, whatever the distance you put in the work, and you completed the race. Training doesn’t stop just because the race is over; you have one more phase that requires your focus...“Recovery”.
The recovery period is just as important as the day you first started training. During this time you are allowing your body and your muscles to rejuvenate and get ready for the next race (trust me after the race you tell yourself, "I’m not doing that again." But if you're anything like me by Tuesday, you will be looking for the next race).
Recovery starts just as you cross the finish line and the medal is placed around your neck. You just entered the recovery zone. Now, It’s time to focus on hydration and rest.
After running so many miles, your body is craving electrolytes. To replace those electrolytes drink some coconut water, Nuun, juice, or just plain water. I know you are excited and the first thing you want to do is take your best selfie and post to social media for all the followers to see that you finished vertical and cute. Before, you break out the phone, drink that bottle of water or Gatorade that the nice volunteer just handed you.
Continue to hydrate over the next few days and resume your regular eating lifestyle, making sure that you get plenty of fiber and protein.
You still have that runner's high and you want to sign up for the next race, but what you need to do is rest, rest, rest and rest some more. How many days might you ask? A good rule of thumb is to rest one day for each mile that you ran.
Maybe not total rest, day 1 and day 2 should include very light activity ( I’m sure the soreness the next morning reminded you of all the miles that you just completed) so add some stretching, maybe take a yoga class. Day 3 and day 4 walk (not run). If you have a fur baby pick up that leash and bring him or her along the first couple of days, then gradually increase your activity.
It’s the end of week 2, and you’re back to running, and wondering what’s next. Why not find that next race (if you haven’t already) and ask for that entry fee for a holiday gift.
Next stop, Marathon Bahamas