With trail season almost upon us it’s an exciting time for us all and time to put all of the summer training into practise! This weekend we welcome the Hout Bay Trail Challenge, one of the most demanding trail runs in the country and for my money – the toughest 40 k race I have done! Personally I am looking forward to the Cableway Challenge (thanks Oriole) and Mac Mac 100 miler in May. To stay happy, healthy and strong over the coming season we need to focus on recovery after races.
Top 10 Tips For Recovery After Races
So, in no particular order, here are my top 10 tips for recovery after races, hard training and how to stay fresh.
1. Don’t do back to back hard days in training. Try a hard day followed by an easy day. By easy I mean 65% effort. I am a strong believer in active recovery so even after a hard race, get out the next day for a run! I also believe that for every 3-4 weeks of training, you should take a rest week. This does not mean stop.
2. When you finish – cooldown. Don’t stop dead in your tracks and drink beer. Cooldown with an extra 1-2 k’s gentle running.
3. When you finish – lay on your back with your feet up against a wall. The blood will drain from your legs allowing fresh blood to be pumped back in. Your legs will feel better immediately.
4. Eat within 15-30 minutes of finishing, Typically ¾ carbs, ¼ protein. Without entering into the great food debate, make sure you refuel. After this, I suggest one of your next meals should be mainly protein.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Simple as that.
6. Living in Cape Town – It’s easy to find ice cold water (any beach will do). Otherwise, an ice bath is possibly the biggest favour you can do your poor legs. Works wonders to reduce inflammation.
7. Stretch and strengthen daily.
8. Pay attention to your enthusiasm. If you feel completely unmotivated, there is a good chance you are still recovering or overtraining. Rest.
9. When you are training hard or racing, factor in extra sleep. My wife loves it when I go to bed at 8:30pm each evening exhausted, it’s an exciting life being married to an ultra trail runner.
10. Make sure you replace your shoes every 6-800 kilometres. When they start to wear down this will place more stress on your legs.