After a long run like City2Surf, we have often pushed ourselves to our maximum fitness levels, and can sometimes want to take a break from running altogether for a period of time afterwards.
While taking a break after a big run can seem like you’re giving yourself a well-deserved rest, often it’s best to maintain some momentum and routine, to ensure that you stay fit and healthy post-race. Follow our simple post-race plan to ensure that you rest, recover and regain your momentum properly.
Week one: rest
For the first week after a big run, it’s best to give your body a chance to fully recover by resting and not running long distances. Another important part of recovering is to give your mind a break from the focus of training, so when your body is ready to train again, you’ll have the mental energy you need too.
It’s important to keep your body hydrated with plenty of water after any long period of exercise, so ensure you’re topping up on fluids throughout the day.
Week two: recover
Once you get past the soreness and stiffness of the first week, continue to keep your running mileage low, as recovery is still your main priority. This is a good time to mix up your running routine with cross training exercises, such as swimming or short bike rides, so that you stay active while allowing your energy levels to return to normal.
On your running days, try to stay on surfaces that lessen the pounding on your tired legs. Alongside this, try to keep your runs short and at a low to medium intensity, as your body still needs to fully recover (and there will be lots of time for hard training later).
In the first two weeks after any long race, it is best to get the recommended eight hours sleep a night, to speed up your recovery and allow your body to fully rest and recuperate.
Week three: regain momentum
Once you feel recovered, you may want to start your normal running routine again. During this time, to get a little speed back into your legs, it is best to start with a few strides, to warm your muscles back up.
Start your strides at an easy pace, then accelerate to 80% of your peak running speed for the next segment and stay on this comfortable pace. If you’re feeling good, you can accelerate again for the next 15 metres up to a 95% pace. As you get back into your running routine, these strides will help you to regain your fast-running form that might have deteriorated a bit during all those months of marathon training.