Rehydrate as soon as you can after your race. Make rehydration one of your key post-race recovery strategies. Aim to take on 35-50ml water per kilo of bodyweight, and pop some electrolyte tablets, drops or powder in there too.
Tempting as it may be, don't just stop and sit down after you cross the finish line of your race (even if you feel like a finding a comfy piece of pavement… You know who you are!) On a serious note, cooling down is particularly important if you've got a long car ride ahead of you.
After a race it's very important to get the right food on board if you want to speed up recovery. A good mixture of carbohydrates, protein and a little healthy fat is good.
Treat yourself a gentle massage to flush out lactic acid and toxins. This helps shorten recovery time between workouts. Waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid build up in muscles after exercise. Increased circulation to these muscles helps to eliminate toxic debris and shorten recovery time.
In the weeks after your event, consider further treatment as massage can also prevent and even heal injuries. By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation to help prevent or break down adhesions. Massage also influences the excretion of certain fluids (nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur) necessary for tissue repair.
Spend 30 minutes or so stretching out your legs and back. Use a foam roller if you have one. This will speed recovery and make your post-race running stretches even more effective to iron out any stubborn trigger points.
For your main meal after your race, make sure you focus on protein to help your body recover and repair micro tears in the muscles. If you can't face a larger meal, make sure your snacks are full of protein. Eggs, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt, tuna, chicken or a protein shake if you really feel you need to treat your stomach gently.
Catch some zzzz
After a running race, try to get an early night to speed recovery. Wind down with a bath, massage or stretching session. Sleep is essential for the body to recover and massively overlooked by many.
Rest and recover
In the days to come, make sure you prioritise rest and active recovery. You won't lose any fitness but you will allow your body to rest so you can return to running without injury or soreness. Light exercise is fine… A 10 mile recovery run is not!
Be proud of yourself. Over the coming days, take a look at your race stats. Your pace, your splits, how you felt and whether you met your goals or not.