Post-Run: How Do You Make the Most of Your Recovery?

Post-Run: How Do You Make the Most of Your Recovery?

If you just ran the City2Surf or are prepping for another run in the coming weeks you have likely invested a lot of time and energy into your training. This may have included a few months of running multiple times per week increasing your distance to get ready for your event.

Or maybe it didn’t, and you just decided to join your friends on the run last week?!?

Regardless of whether or not you prepared, you’ve just finished your race (and if you didn’t keep reading so you can get our post-run recovery tips!).

You may be hobbling around, struggling to go up and down the stairs. Or you may be just feeling a bit stiff and sore.

Do you know what you should be doing post-run?

What’s your plan?

Your main goal post-run should be to assist your body’s recovery back to its optimal state of health.

To assist your muscles in their recovery post-run, you will want to:

  • Rehydrate
  • Refuel
  • Replenish electrolytes
  • Stretch major muscle groups
  • Rest
  • Get a massage
  • Apply heat packs
  • Soak in Epsom salt bath or apply Magnesium oil
  • Do your strength-based exercises


While that schooner of lager or glass of bubbles will look super tasty, you may want to limit your alcohol consumption as your body will require rehydration to replenish fluid lost from sweating. This should include lots of WATER. To check your hydration level, use the “pee test” – aim for the colour of lemonade or lighter, any darker then you need more water.


Aim to eat a small meal rich in carbohydrates with some protein. Carbodyrates help restore lost muscle fuel and protein helps repair muscle damage incurred during exercise. But having run a big race does not mean you should pig out!

Replenish electrolytes

What should you drink post-race?

Your go-to-drink will always will be water, but you may want to grab a Gatorade or sugar-free electrolyte drink. This will help to replenish your electrolyte balance (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium), which is essential for optimal healthy muscle function.

Stretch major muscle groups

You want to aim to stretch the big muscle groups that are essential to your running.

Aim for the “Big 5”

  • Hip flexors
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

Stretching helps to maintain flexibility and reduce post-workout muscle soreness.

Aim to hold you stretches for 30 seconds up to 1 minute. The shorter the hold, the more repetitions you will want to complete. For example, when holding 20-30 seconds, go for 4-5 reps. Ease into the stretch and hold, avoid forcing the stretch to avoid injury.


Sleep is the number one way to repair, recover and rebuild after an intense workout, such as a 14km run or marathon. Once you have rehydrated, refuelled and stretched try to get some good sleep the night after your race.

In the days after the race there are a few other options to consider if your muscles are still stiff and sore:

Get a Massage

Never had a massage? A sports or deep tissue massage may further assist in your recovery getting you moving and feeling better – and less hobbling around.

A deep tissue massage involves applying firm and deep pressure to the muscles in deep, slow strokes along the muscles and layers of fascia (or connective tissue covering the different layers of muscle).

What does massage do?

  • Release tension built up in the muscles
  • Break up adhesions
  • Release trigger points
  • Restore blood flow

Apply heat packs

Applying heat to any sore or tender muscles, particularly after a massage will help restore blood flow and flush out toxins that have built up (lactic acid).

Soak in an Epsom salt bath or Apply Magnesium oil

Often a regular staple for those who do regular and/or intense exercise, soaking in Epsom salt bath or applying Magnesium oils/creams helps ease muscle soreness and inflammation. On the flipside, an ice bath post-run can help to reduce swelling and decrease inflammation.

Do Your Strength-Based Exercises

Active recovery after the race is essential to maintain flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. Depending on how you feel after the race adding in a few glute based exercises may help ease some of the tension in your legs, particularly your lateral quads and ITB.

Leading up to your event, making sure to include glute exercises in your strength program is essential and may include:

  • Squat
  • Split squats
  • Lunges
  • Bridging +/- exercise band around the knees
  • Single leg work

Following these steps will get you moving and feeling better so that you can resume your regular training (possibly for your next event).

We hope you found this piece helpful in aiding your recovery. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery we would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Just fill out the form on our contact page with your name, email, phone number and best time to contact and we’ll be in touch!

#running #City2surf #physiotherapy #exercise #stretching #massage

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