May 29, 2024

Race Recovery Essentials! Written by Kristie Cranford

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Race Recovery Essentials! Written by Kristie Cranford

A lot of focus and energy is put into preparing to get to the finish line of a race strong and ready. What happens when you cross the finish line? In all the planning one crucial part is often overlooked, recovery.
Recovery is both physical and mental. It is important to prepare for both.

Here are some quick post-race recovery tips:

•    Replenish. Eat or drink something containing complex carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of the finish. Typical rule of thumb is 3 part carbohydrate to 1 part protein. Your body needs to refuel and will need protein to help muscles to rebuild/recover.

•    Hydrate. Drink plenty of water, and not just after the race. Continue throughout the day and days ahead. It will help to move the lactic acid out of your body.

•    Don’t stop. At the finish, don’t stop and sit down. Keep moving. Walk, a lot. Stretch. You want to keep your muscles from locking up and tightening.

•    Foam Roll. A foam roller is an athlete’s best friend. Roll out your whole body, not just the legs, paying close attention to “hot spots” (sore spots.)

•    Take an Ice Bath. Sit in a tub with ice and water, put your feet in a bucket of ice, or sit in a cold body of water. Ice baths reduce inflammation and tissue breakdown, therefore speeding recovery.

•    Compress. Put on compression sleeves or socks. Blood pools at the bottom of the leg when racing, compression will aid in improving blood flow, speeding recovery.

•    Rest. Allow your body to recover, repair, and become stronger. Muscle repairs and strengthens at rest. Do not immediately jump into a hard training program. Light yoga, swimming and biking for example, are good choices. Less intensity for a few days, even a week or longer to allow for proper rest and repair.

•    Expect the blues. Every athlete experiences post-race blues. When the euphoria and endorphins wear off, there is a crash. Just knowing it happens and being able to recognize it makes a difference. But plan for it. Have a next goal in mind so there is a new focus ahead, not “what am I going to do now?”

Planning and preparing for a race should not be just about how to get to the finish, but what to do after you get there. Remember to have a recovery plan in place.  

This article is written by Kristie Cranford, CPT. A wife, mother, cancer survivor and competitive athlete, Kristie is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Running/Triathlon Coach for PRSFit Nation. Living in Las Vegas, she is the Chair of Long Distance Running for USATF-Nevada Association, Coolibar sponsored athlete, and Raw Elements Sunscreen Ambassador. Contact information:, via email at,


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