By: Lauren Moore
Biokineticist Jaime Valadao, from Valadao and Fourie Biokineticists, helped me compile the tips below to assist with all round post-race recovery. Remember, it is important to focus on physiological recovery from both a physical and nutritional perspective. Being mindful of nourishing and hydrating your body after the race, as well as looking after your muscles and circulation, will ensure a faster and more efficient recovery.
The 4 “R’s” of recovery
Focus on repairing and relaxing. Do some active recovery (light, slow ride) in the days following the Argus and spend some time relaxing to get your body back to full function. A power nap of 15-20 minutes included in your ‘relax phase’ can lead to decreased fatigue - now you have an excuse at work!
Focus on post-race re-fuelling. The goal of a post-exercise meal or snack is to provide your body with the tools it needs to recover from the stresses of the cycle. You need glucose (sugar) to help stabilize your blood sugar which may be low after a long cycle. If you allow you blood sugar to drop and don’t eat after the race, you may feel ill (dizzy, nauseous and lethargic) and your appetite might spike later, causing you to over eat. Ideally, you should pair some carbohydrate with some protein to facilitate muscle repair. Easy post exercise snacks include a fruit with a handful of biltong/nuts, some plain yoghurt, or a slice of bread with some peanut butter.
Rehydration is the key. Don’t wait for your thirst signals to kick in – prioritise rehydration after (and ideally during) your race! The goal here is to replace fluid as well as electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that were lost due to exertion, sweating and urination. Sports drinks will do the trick, but the best option is an oral electrolyte mixture such as Rehidrat.
After the race get some compression clothing on! Compression has been shown to decrease post-exercise leg soreness as well as DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness).
Cold water immersion
After the race get into a cold bath, but try not to make it as cold as possible. Ideally the temperature should be between 11-15 degrees celsius, and immersion should last for 10-15 minutes for the best results.
Wishing you the best of luck for the race, and if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to give Jaime or I a shout!