How To Bounce Back From A Race

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 9, 2010

Good morning!

Last night I forgot to make my planned Vegan Overnight Oats, so I threw them together this morning and I patiently waited. I distracted my growling stomach by shipping out orders and trying to fix my blog that was down.

While I worked, Sketchie got caught up on his beauty sleep (he only got 18 hours yesterday!).


When he sleeps I am overcome with an urge to tickle his toes. I try to refrain myself, but it is hard. He curls them up all cute!


I checked on the VOO after 35 minutes and even though it was still soupy, my stomach demanded to be fed. So soupy VOO it was. ;)


I also made some GREEN banana soft serve!


Avocado Soft Serve


  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk


Directions: Add frozen chunks of banana and 2 tbsp fresh avocado and process in food processor. Add almond milk to speed along the process if necessary.

It is very buttery tasting. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but it grew on me like most green things do.




How To Bounce Back From A Race

I ran my second 10km race on Monday and I busted my butt legs to shave 7 minutes off my PR.


Afterward, my leg muscles were ready to up and leave my body. They were not impressed with me!

Specifically, my left shin was tight and pulsing with a what-the-heck-was-that ache. This was new for me because I have never had a problem with sore shins before. I suspect it had something to do with sprinting at the end. My quads also hurt as well as my hamstrings. I was tight all over! Dare I say even more tight than following my last half marathon.

Here is what I did to recover:

1) Immediately following the race, I stretched my muscles.

I think it is very important to stretch immediately following a race because if I don’t every muscle seems to clench up and get super tight and cranky. I spent about 5 minutes stretching my shins, quads, hamstrings, and Achilles.

2) After stretching, I ate.

After stretching, I had a large banana. Immediate post-race fuel is important, even for a 10k.

3) Within 1 hour of finishing the race, I ate a replenishing meal with plenty of carbs, protein, and healthy fats + H20.


Even though it was only 9:30am I mowed down on a burger!

4) After my meal, I drank lots of water.

5) Next, the dreaded ice bath.

Ice baths are not fun, but they work. Period.

Here is how I rock the ice bath: I fill the tub with cold water so it just covers the tops of my legs. I get into the tub (with a sweater on! No, I’m not joking) and after getting in, I slowly pour a small bag of ice into the water a little bit at a time. I check the water temperature and aim for it to be around 55-60F. Be careful not to make it too cold, or it could damage your muscles. It should not be painful, just cold. I highly recommend wearing a sweater though. It sounds crazy, but it helps so much. I roll mine up a bit at the waist so it doesn’t get wet. :)

6) That night, I went on a light 1.5 mile walk to get the blood flowing in my legs.

I do think a bit of light activity helps the recovery process. I think the worst thing you can do is sit all day following a race (unless of course you are injured). Relaxing and kicking up your feet is necessary and well-deserved, but a bit of walking helps too.

[image source]

7) The morning after the race, I did Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners.

This is a 45 minute yoga DVD that is targeted specifically for runners and focuses on stretches and poses that soothe common sore & tight spots. This DVD is perfect for beginners (like me!) and moves at a good pace which is great when you are sore and your muscles aren’t moving very quickly.

I fell in love with this DVD and use it several times a week. I would highly recommend it to all the runners out there!

8.) Another light walk in the evening.

9) Two days after the race, my legs felt good enough to do a test-run.

Yesterday I headed out on the road, without a watch (I didn’t care about time only how my body felt), and I did an easy 2 mile run. A short run at an easy pace is a good way to ease your body back into your normal running routine and there is no pressure to go fast. I stretched a lot afterward.

10) Chocolate.

Need I say more? ;)

It is now Thursday and my muscles have decided to forgive me. Whew.

Do you have any muscles that tend to get sore quite easily? Do you have any weak spots or areas that are vulnerable to injury?

I would have to say my most vulnerable area is my groin area. It always seems to get tight even when my other muscles are fine. My Achilles also seem to be vulnerable. Last Fall after my second half marathon, my left Achilles was quite sore and I had to take 2 weeks off running. I think this was from all the hills along the course and also that it was very cold during the race (about 1-2C). Eric and I are hoping to get back into strength training again this Fall, so I hope to strengthen up my body again. Leg work, ab work, and arm work shall be done.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

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Tina September 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

It always amazes me how much thought and planning goes into races – before, during, and after. Glad you took those extra steps to feel better!


Heather (Heather's Dish) September 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

i think i would bounce back sketchie-style :)


Lisa September 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

These are great tips! I waited 7 days before trying to run again.


MoniMeals September 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

Hey Ang! You read my thoughts exactly. As a trainer myself, I wanted to say that strength training will help your muscle imbalances in your groin area, (with time). You are right on the money with making that a goal for you and Eric ths Fall. :) You are so on top of it for what you do(the recovery phase) after a race! Good work and I look at it lke this: “If you Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail!” Not with you, that is for sure.
My tight spot is my quads for sure. They are sore much of the time, due to my addicition to cycing! I make sure to put the time in for recovery + rest, strecthing and the best part-getting a massage!
Note to Sketchie- I am jealous of your 17 hours of sleep! My dogs are right there with ya, they might of gotten 27 hours themselves,lol. :)


chelseY September 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

Thanks for the tips! I am running a half on Sunday, so I have to star this post!!


Caitlin (EatFeats) September 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

great tips! My shoulders and knees are prone to injury, but swimming is pretty gentle on them. I think the soupy VOO look reallly good.


Amber K September 9, 2010 at 11:57 am

An ice bath sounds sooo scary to me. I get super cold very easily, but this is the first time I have seen anyone mention wearing a sweater. I have never run a race, so I don’t usually feel the need for an ice bath, but it’s good to know!


Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa September 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Thanks for the ice bath tips!


suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic] September 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm

avocados are 5 for $1 at this local grocery store right now. i’ll have to stock up and put them in with bananas!


TheHealthyApron September 9, 2010 at 12:24 pm

My hips get really tight, as well as my hammy’s!! I suffered hip bursitis earlier this year and found that yoga really makes it feel SO much better!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm

You have a great list of tips! I have run over a hundred races in my life, 5 & 10k’s, half marathons, a marathon, and i have never ever done the ice bath! My joints in general, knees, ankles, hips, after a long run or race, they are more tender and I baby myself for a few days and being a yoga teacher, I also LOVE to stretch stretch stretch. That’s the best for me. My hamstrings get tight if I don’t. Running shortens the muscles, yoga & stretching them lengthens them back out. Love your list! Oh and I am prone to plantar fascitis and bottom of feet pain..ugh, life of a runner!


Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA September 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for the good tips! I have a hip muscle that hurts a lot after prolonged exercise (I mean more than an hour or so) and it’s been years but I haven’t really figured out how to fix it. I think it’s genetic b/c my dad has the same problem. I also have plantar fasciitis which can make even walking extremely unpleasant.


[email protected] September 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Thank you so much for the tips! I am running my first 5k on Sunday and hope to run many more races. These recovery tips will definitely come in handy :) After running, my calves are typically the most sore part of my body.


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) September 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’m really scared about the idea of an ice bath, despite how great I know they are for you. I have yet to experience one, but I am thinking of taking the plunge after my marathon in Oct. One of my running friends told me that last year after her first marathon, she had everything set up and ready to go. She managed to get one foot into the tub before changing her mind and immediately draining it, opting for a hot shower instead. :P


Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks September 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Avocado Soft Serve? I think I am in love!

Good tips for recovering from a race. I am still very much a beginner in the running department, so even after my (slow) 5K I felt pretty beat up. Can’t wait until I can run a distance that actually warrants this beat up feeling! ;)


Leah @ Why Deprive? September 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Those are really good tips. The ice bath sounds like it would totally suck, but really work.

Im prone to injuries in my hips and ankles, and more recently, because of my hips, my knees get sore. Basically, my body is confused and things Im 95 years old.


Lauren September 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Mostly after half-marathons my knees & hips are sore. I try to incorporate icing my knees, as well as yoga (especially pigeon) to help with the hip openers. I am running my first marathon in December, so I can only imagine what will ache.

I’m using my long training runs as learning experiences to cope with soreness!


Jessica (Fit and Clean) September 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Last year I ended up with a stress fracture in my hip, which stopped all running and other activities for 6 weeks! I thought I had pulled a muscle, and it didn’t hurt too bad, so I just kept on doing what I normally do. If I’m running a lot my calves get super tight…I was describing the feeling to my husband the other night as a “bubbling” feeling! Hahaha

I have The Stick which I use after I workout and that really helps with the soreness and blood flow :)


Melissa September 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Good thing your had your burger after your race! The protein probably reeeaaallly helped speed up your muscle recovery. Plus it looks delicious. I’ll have to make them after my next race in October!


Miranda @ MirandasJeans September 9, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I want to try an ice bath, I know it will be so good for my legs, but I am too chicken sh*t. lol.

I hurt my left hamstring doing a kick (with cold muscles to show off to the hubby) when I first started working out and pulled my muscle. I didn’t take care of it, and now as a result it gets pretty tight pretty easily. I do my best to stretch before and after workouts (non static stretching before) and lots of yoga to try and keep my hamstrings loose as a moose ;-)


Allison September 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm

These are great recommendations, thank you! I also like to use epsom salt baths and fresh ginger tea (steep grated fresh ginger in boiling water for about 10 min). :-)


[email protected]:// September 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm

That’s some great ideas for recovery after a race. I wouldn’t have thought about hte walk. But your so right.


Lisa (bakebikeblog) September 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Did you know that I have never tried an ice bath?? Must give it a go after my next race / long run!


callah September 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm

oh my gosh! all my lower body muscles cramp up post-run. I need to experiment with potassium-rich foods (or coconut water!) pre-run in order to prevent that after my next long run!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

My hamstrings always get really tight. Stretching usually does the trick. I don’t think I could ever brave an ice bath though! :P


Kennedy @ Running After Balance September 9, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Congrats on your race – 7 minutes off your best time is amazing!!
I’ve just started going to Christine’s Yoga For Runners class in Rosedale, it is really great – especially for getting rid of tight/sore muscles.
Also, just wondering… are you doing the Scotiabank half again this year?


Lauren September 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm

My calves ALWAYS get so sore from running but I’ve been making a conscious effort to really stretch them out afterwards and it’s really helped. They haven’t been sore in 2 weeks!

By the way Sketchie is the the most beautifully marked cat I’ve ever seen!! I’m such a cat lover but sadly I live with roommates who are allergic :(


[email protected] September 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

I love that yoga DVD!!!! I hate yoga but know how good it is for you and so I googled “runner yoga” and this popped up. It feels more like an extension of your running workout instead of the usual yoga sessions.


Stacy September 10, 2010 at 10:30 am

Oh my goodness your cat is gorgeous!


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble September 10, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Yum! I love avocado after a race! Plus they are packed with potassium! Everyone always thinks bananas for potassium but I love avocado!


sassy molassy September 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Wow, you really rocked that 10K! A 7 min PR is no joke! I just did a half marathon last weekend and unexpectedly took 3 min off my PR. It felt great to push it so hard. Sounds like you had a great recovery plan, especially the choc part. ;) I usually do the very same with my ice baths. I put on a sweatshirt (and roll it up so it doesn’t get wet), then add ice after I’m in. I also rock out to itunes while I’m in there so I have something else to focus on.


Nikki @ Balance and Moderation September 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Question: How long do you sit in the ice bath for? I have heard so many good things about them – but no one has fully explained them until now – thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

about 10 mins!


Sana September 10, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Chocolate cures all.
The End.


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn September 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Thank you SO much!! I just had my first 5K on Sunday, and I forgot to stretch post-race (I usually stretch religiously after every workout…this was unusual!) and I was sore until Thursday. Boo!

These tips will really help me after my next race :) (even though I hate ice baths! brrr)


Gwyn September 14, 2010 at 12:29 am

What running watch do you use? I noticed you track your miles, etc? Thank you!


Amy K March 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Sketchie is the most beautiful cat I’ve ever seen!! What type of cat is he?


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