5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Stretch

Photo Cred: Jarek Tan

Training for a race is a time-consuming task. You have a goal set in mind for a time you want to achieve, and you are committed to working towards reaching this mark. Once race day hits you start off strong and determined but as you reach closer to the end you can feel your muscles wanting to give out and the lactic acid kicking in. As you cross the finish line the only thought in your mind is: “I need to sit down.” That’s where everything takes a turn for the worse. Your instant moment of relief leads to extreme soreness and stiffness for days on end, but we have some tips to help you recover and replenish your body:

Michael Hu

Tip 1) Keep moving – DO NOT SIT DOWN

After moving continuously for a long period of time our hearts are pumping blood at a fast rate. A sudden stop by sitting down causes our blood pressure to drop quickly and blood to pool up in our legs leading to dizziness. An important tip is to continue walking or moving around for 5- 10 minutes to help slow down your heart rate and allowing your muscles to adapt to the change in movement.

Tip 2) Grab a snack

Your body needs fuel. After running a short or long race you need to eat within 30 minutes of finishing the run. This is due to our bodies using the sugars stored for energy throughout the race and the need to repair muscles by eating protein. Once you cross that finish line grab those bananas and water bottles available and snack away even if you don’t want it, your body will thank you later.

Tip 3) Stretch! Stretch! Stretch!

Tight muscles are not fun to wake up to but to reduce this outcome we recommend stretching out your hamstrings, quads, calves, and hips post-race. Holding each stretch for around 30 second and keeping your muscles warm will benefit you in the long run.

PC: Bruno Martin del Campo

Tip 4: Ice, Ice, baby.

This one definitely sounds crazy, but ice will be your best friend after a long race. Jumping in an ice bath will help reduce inflammation and lactic acid build up. As much as you want to take that nice hot shower, don’t do it. You will cause yourself to have sore muscles for longer.

Tip 5: Rest

The most simple but effective tip after a race is to rest. You may be feeling energized and ready to party out this achievement but maybe doing this on your couch is the way to go. You need your body to recover from this high intensity workout and by putting more strain on your muscles you are extending the recovery period for yourself. Take that break, you earned it.

There are many reasons to want to skip the stretch post-race, but by following our 5 easy tips you are setting yourself up for a faster and painless (hopefully) recovery!