Tips for recovering well after your running or walking event!

Tips for recovering well after your running or walking event

You trained for weeks and months to participate in your race or event and all of the hard work has paid off! You’ve done it. It’s an amazing effort and as podiatrists we’re constantly inspired by all of those that commit to these events, whether they’re for a personal goal, a charity fundraiser, or just for fun! We saw a lot of this in the recent Peak 2 Park Toowoomba and are stoked with the outcome.

In our experience of helping patients prepare for these events, we’ve noticed that while many people take great care before the event, significantly fewer people apply the same regimen and care after the event. Caring for you body after your event can make a massive difference to the speed of your recovery and how you feel in the following days. To help you recover, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways to look after yourself following your running or walking event.

1. Resist the urge to collapse on the floor and not get up!

It’s tempting, we know! But just like going from 0 to 100 is a bad idea, the same is true in reverse. You want to allow your heart rate to slowly return to its resting state and maintain good circulation following your event. This is because your muscles have just had a massive workout and will need plenty of blood, nutrients and oxygen for healing and repair. Your body will also be removing lactic acid from the muscles, which is otherwise known as the reason for very sore muscles the next day, so you’ll be doing your future self big favour too!

We recommend going for an easy cool-down jog or walk and reflecting back on your awesome achievement while you’re at it.

2. Give your body a good stretch

Static stretches after an event help to relax and elongate your muscles, as well as improve muscle flexibility as you stretch the muscles past their regular limits (though not too far!). Static stretches involve holding a position for a prolonged period, at least 30-60 seconds, as opposed to dynamic stretches that actively take muscles through repetitive movements (and sometimes challenging movements) to get the joints and muscles warm and ready for activity and reduce the risk of injury during activity.

For running, we recommend giving your hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, glutes, quads a good stretch. If you’re not sure about these, our sports podiatrists can show you how or you can come along to one of our running-related gym sessions.

3. Keep warm

Staying warm after exercise, particularly in the coming winter months, has many benefits. It helps your heart rate gradually return to normal, helps prevent blood from pooling in the legs and the onset of dizziness, helps to remove metabolites and reduces the risk of both injury and illness from sudden changes in temperature.

We recommend you have plenty of warm clothes to put on after your run and put them on even when you’re still feeling a bit warm.

4. Have a snack and rehydrate

Eating after strenuous activity helps maintain your blood sugar levels, gets more energy back to your cells and helps your body’s repair process so you can recover well and grow stronger for it. Choose healthy options filled with plenty of protein and carbohydrates and don’t forget to drink lots of water to rehydrate and replenish those electrolytes.

We recommend starting with a smaller snack shortly after finishing the event and working your way to a good meal when you’re ready.

5. Relax

Your body needs time and plenty of rest to recover from the damaged to your muscles and tissues during the event. The length of time can vary depending on your event, but for strenuous intense events such as marathons, studies have shown that it can take 7 – 10 days to repair the cellular damage. Studies also reveal that muscle power and durability after a marathon were significantly impacted for up to two weeks after the event.

So we recommend that you relax, don’t push yourself, avoid, running for a good amount of time (from a few days to a week depending your the intensity of you activity) and opt for gentle activities such as swimming instead.

Perhaps one of the BEST pieces of advice we can give you is that if you think you’ve injured your feet or legs, please get them checked. The effectiveness of your recovery and rehabilitation has the potential to have long-term consequences on your muscles, bones and joints and their function and strength.

  • We conduct thorough biomechanical assessments both before and after events to reduce the risk of injury in the first place, and to provide the best rehabilitation and care following an event and/or injury. To book in or for any questions, give our expert team a call on 07 4638 3022
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