Hydrate to Regenerate
Runners know that keeping hydrated before and during a big race is crucial to maintaining stamina and avoiding exhaustion. Hydrating after a race however, is sometimes overlooked.
Hydration is a huge factor that some of us forget to think about. Rehydration is really important. Otherwise, you can go through the day feeling fatigued and trying to play catch up from the race.
A rule of thumb to keep in mind as you rehydrate: Following a long run, a runner's urine may be amber or resemble the color of apple juice, a sign of dehydration. Runners should rehydrate well enough that within two hours, it returns to a light lemonade color.
Go for Proteins and Carbs
During the first hour after a vigorous run, a runner's muscles are primed to recover. Take advantage of the time window by choosing foods high in protein and carbohydrates.
Shoot for 15-30 grams of protein and 2 to 4 times as many carbs within the first hour. In the hours that follow, eat normally and don't be afraid to put salt on your food because you're trying to rehydrate and those electrolytes are important.
During the following week, keep those protein-rich foods handy. Additionally, fruits and vegetables, fish, and foods high in antioxidants are good choices to regain energy and bolster strength.
Keep alcohol to a minimum after a race. Too many drinks can impair muscle improvement and slow recovery.
The same goes for excessive sugar. A sweet treat is perfectly fine post-race, but limit sugary snacks in the weeks following.
Keep Muscles Loose
Regular stretching is another key step for post-run recuperation.
A foam roller is a self-massage tool that helps release muscle tightness. The method can also be performed with a lacrosse ball, a trigger point wand, or a mobility ball.
Compression clothing can also assist with muscle regeneration. The sportswear comes in shirts, shorts, tights, socks, or underwear and works to improve blood flow and aid recovery.