Recovery FAQ’s to Use after your Shoots and Ladders Virtual 5K/10K this Labor Day Weekend!
With Labor Day right around the corner, we want to take a moment to thank all the American workers and laborers who work hard every day! We hope that everyone can take time this weekend to rest and recharge, especially after your Shoots and Ladders 5K/10K race.
In a previous article, we mentioned why rest and recovery is so important, and now we will explain just how much of it you need, as well as how you can recover efficiently this weekend after your race.
“So, how long do I need to recover after a race, anyways?”
The short answer to this is that “it depends”. Recovery can depend on your previous running/racing experience, how your body feels in the moment, and what your goals are for upcoming races. In general, it is best to take at least 1-2 days off running completely after any race, especially if it is a distance that you have not run before. If you are a new 5K or 10K runner, your body may need a few extra days. If you are an experienced 5K/10K runner, you may only need 1 day to recover, especially if you are using this race as part of a training cycle for a longer distance. Either way, the key is to listen to your body and pay attention to your level of soreness. If you’re a new runner, if you hit a new PR, or if you didn’t train as much as you’d have liked for the race, you may experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which typically occurs anywhere between 24-72 hours after a workout. This means that while your muscles may not feel sore right away, they may become fatigued, tender to the touch, or even a bit swollen about 1-3 days later, according to healthline.com. Therefore, it is recommended to take at least 1 day off after a race to help prevent this and prevent injury. You can use this time to stretch, do light yoga, foam roll, or go for a light walk, all which will assist in muscle recovery.
“I’m taking 1-2 days off from all exercise and running. Now what?”
If you spent a lot of time training for a race, once it is complete you may find yourself wondering what to do with all your non-running free time. This “now what?” feeling is why many runners get tempted to dive right into training for their next race and cut recovery time short. Instead of jumping back in too quickly, use your days off to spend extra time with friends and family, get a massage, complete a home project that had been on the back burner, invest time in another hobby, read a new book, watch a new show on Netflix, etc.! Whichever you choose, find some “YOU” time so that you can rest and recharge both mentally and physically for your next training cycle.
“I’m still sore but want to get moving again. What are some other ways I can recover while staying active?”
If you took a post-race rest day(s) and are ready to get moving again but are not quite ready to get back to running, you can have a little fun with cross-training! This is a great time to try other forms of exercise like swimming, biking, hiking, yoga, Pilates, or even a new group fitness class! This will keep your body moving but give your legs a break from pounding the pavement. It is also a nice mental break, as it allows you to focus on other non-running related goals!
“I’m recovered and ready to go! How can I ramp back up?”
After you’ve taken a few days off and feel recovered, start by running a couple of shorter distances at a slow and steady pace, mixed in with a couple of low impact cross training workouts. Again, listen to your body during this time, and always remember to stretch and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Each week you can start adding a little bit of mileage and a little more speed. In general, according to RRCA, you should add about 10% of your weekly mileage each week. For example, if you run 10 miles your first week back after a race, the second week you should run no more than 11. This will prevent injuries and help you build your mileage back up safely, and successfully.
Happy Labor Day!