A half marathon (13 miles) and full marathon (26 miles) trainings are usually long and hard (time and distance), so it is important to work on a quick recovery.
Post-workout recovery is vital to assimilate the effects of training, getting ready for the next workout and avoiding injuries.
Thus, what you do after working out is as important (or more) as the workout itself, so here we let you know the five golden rules for a fast recovery after a race:
1.- Consume proteins
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people still believing that the only important nutrients in runner’s diet are carbohydrates. Proteins are perfect to repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue.
This is why you should eat proteins after hard workout sessions. Some options at your fingertips are: milk, yoghurt, eggs and protein shakes.
2.- Sleep more
Sleeping few hours has negative effects in your performance and recovery.
Lack of sleep increases weariness, which may disturb the desire of engaging in any physical activity and feeling exhausted during workouts and races.
Negative effects are shown when sleeping less than 6 hours, and are reduced after sleeping more than 8 hours. Therefore, you should try sleeping as much as possible after hard workouts. Taking a nap is a valid option!
A good massage session after a long workout may help you to: increase bloodstream; release, condition and recover muscle tissue; stimulate weary muscle tissue, etc.
Even when a professional massage is a very efficient option, many runners choose to do the massage themselves. We recommend you do it regularly.
Self-massages are a good way of getting to know your body and studying your muscles status.
You will lose an important amount of the liquid in your body during a hard workout. So, you should properly hydrate when you finish.
Your goal shouldn’t be to drink excessively non-stop, listen to your body. Thirst is your body’s way to let you know when you need extra hydration.
5.-Don’t drink alcohol
Drinking alcohol (even moderately) can also interfere with your body’s ability to recover after physical effort (Barnes et al).
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that alcohol consumption negatively affects athlete’s psychomotor abilities and sports performance and it recommends abstaining alcohol consumption at least 48 hours before any competition.
Also, it says that the persistent alcohol abuse is associated with significant cardiac and skeletal muscle deficiencies. It delays the post-workout recovery by inhibiting protein synthesis.