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Traveling for a race is one of my favorite types of vacation. It’s a great way to see the area and allows me to tick big races off my bucket list. Plus, I love active travel and racing so it’s a win, win for me.
We all prioritize our pre-race game when we’re away from home, ensuring that we have our favorite breakfast, all the gels we need, the lucky pair of socks that we can’t run without—however all too often the post-race recovery is ignored. We’re so happy to have crossed that finish line and ready to head straight for the food table, that we fail to look after our body properly, increasing recovery time.
Here are my top tips for post-race recovery when you’re traveling:
Make sure to drink plenty of water and replace your electrolytes post-run. When there’s a big event in town many hotels put on special spreads for the runners, or may stock your hotel room with plenty of refreshments, if not, you could hit up the local convenience store or bring your own recovery drinks with you.
Explore AFTER The Race
Although you may just want to sit/lie down, walking around a little post-race helps keep the blood flowing, and moves that lactic acid around helping to reduce the likelihood of cramping.
Line That Stomach
You’ll want to refuel post-run with some quality protein. It’s not always easy to eat healthy when you’re traveling, so do some research before you arrive, speak to the concierge for suggestions or bring some protein snack bars with you. (I’d also do this if you like a pre-race carb loading meal, the last thing you want is to eat some weird!).
Get Some Sleep
Getting some shut eye is one of the best ways for both your body and mind to recover after a long run or race. Sleep provides the opportunity for the muscles and cells to recover and the body to re-establish hormonal balance. After running the New York City Marathon followed six days later by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5K and 10K, I was in bed by 10 p.m. every night…even in Vegas. Pop the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your hotel room if you need some extra peace and quiet.
Go Easy On The Booze
It can be easy to get carried away while traveling—especially somewhere like Las Vegas or New York—and indulge in a few too many cocktails. Of course one or two are well-deserved after your race, but alcohol is a physiological stressor and can reduce your post-run recovery time. Additionally, it will reduce your sleep quality.
It might go out the window for many of us post-run, but it really will make you feel better. Try a yoga routine in your room, an in-hotel class or hunt down a local yoga studio, a great time to take advantage of your Classpass passport.
Wear Compression Socks
Wearing compression sock or leggings on your way home if you have a flight or long drive can help increase blood flow. The Skins recovery compression leggings helped my legs recover between races and on some long flights. You could even sleep in them if you’re not keen on wearing them sightseeing.
Visit The Spa
A lot of hotels have amazing spa facilities, and post race is the perfect time to treat yourself to a treatment or day pass. A massage, facial or just some downtime in the jacuzzi and steam room could do wonders for your recovery. After the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 10K we enjoyed a pedicure at the Canyon Ranch Spa at The Venetian, where the staff were very kind about our blisters and turned my hoofs into presentable tootsies. If there isn’t a spa or it’s a little out of your price range, run yourself a nice bubble bath and throw in some Epsom salts (don’t forget to hydrate properly when you’re in there).