Well it’s official. I am a Spartan! Aroo Aroo! (I never thought I would EVER say that!) Anyway that short race definitely pushed my limits and my muscles to new levels. But what about afterwards? After all the fun and excitement is over all that is left is lingering soreness. Those aches and pains can leave you feeling down and out from training unless you take a proactive approach. Here are my top tips for speedy Spartan Recovery:
1. Get a proper warm-up PRIOR to race start! This means getting your muscles fully warm and mobile before you start sprinting to those obstacles in the race. Go for a medium jog/run until you are out of breath and sweating. YES, Sweating! If you aren’t fully breaking a sweat and out of breath, you are NOT warm yet! Then, go through some range of motion drills to get mobility in all the joints you will be working that day. When you start warm, you’ll be prepared to hit the obstacles better and have less soreness the next day.
2. Post race cool down and stretch: Once you’ve taken enough finisher photos, be sure to do a proper cool down and stretch. I recommend bringing a foam roller or trigger ball with you to roll out your muscles briefly. Also, if you are in wet/muddy clothes be sure to get into some clean, dry clothes as soon as possible! You want your muscles to stay warm and supple; not tense up with cold dampness.
3. Nutrition: Immediately after the race you need to rehydrate as much as possible! Many people make the mistake of eating too much and not drinking enough water following the race. Yes getting carbs and protein is important, but water is really the key here! As far as food goes; you’ll want to replenish muscle stores quickly so I recommend a recovery drink of some kind. Something with a mixture of 4:1 or 3:1 Carbs to Protein is best. There are many products available, I advise Hammer Nutrition Recoverite. Otherwise try making your own snack (i.e. banana with protein shake). Then later on have a balanced meal with lots of vegetables (you need these extra antioxidants and minerals), clean protein and a little healthy fat. Avoid the temptation to “reward” yourself with junk food. Even though you think you “earned it”, this will only cause more inflammation in your body and make you feel worse later on! Hold off on the cheat meal until your body has recovered more. **Use #5 below as reward instead!
4. Supplements: I always keep these on hand:
- Turmeric/Cur-cumin (fights inflammation WAY better than Advil or Ibuprofen)
- Electrolytes (to replace what was lost durning the event)
- BCAA’s and Glutamine (help repair damaged tissue faster)
- Magnesium (relaxes tense and sore muscles, aids in delayed soreness)
- Omega-3, DHA’s (also help reduce inflammation and lubricate joints)
5. Lastly, I do something nice for my body such as an Epsom salt bath, jacuzzi or massage. No explanation needed here. It just feels good and we all know the benefits of a nice massage for our aching body! Do something to treat yourself and really luxuriate in it!
Remember: These are a few recovery aids, meaning your body will likely still feel sore and need rest. Don’t be surprised if you have to dial it down for a bit until you are back to 100%. Take the time you need before going back to hardcore workouts, you’ll come back even stronger and better for your next event!