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5 Steps of Race Recovery Voodoo

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I’m not a scientist or running expert, nor do I play them on the internet. But through trial and error, I’ve found some tried and true race recovery steps. These keep me pain-free and moving through the training process and past the finish line. Here are the 5 steps of race recovery voodoo that may help you get past the DOMS.

beginner running tips

5 Steps of Race Recovery Voodoo

After my first half marathon, I could barely move.

Part of that issue was being 6 months pregnant and undertrained (tip- Nike Plus says 13 miles?? It’s not even close!)

PHM 2011 Finishline

The other issue was the 9 blisters I had on my feet!

But the MAIN problem was recovery.

I had absolutely NO idea how to recover from that kind of distance. I went to my room and took a nap.

Yep. That was NOT the best move- 10/10 do not recommend no matter how tempting!

I’ve since perfected the process that works for me.

This may NOT work for you, but there might be some tips in here that help!

1. As Soon As Possible: Eat and Drink

  • 4 BCAA caplets
  • 4 Ibuprophen
  • 1 banana
  • Water and electrolyte drinks out the wazoo

BCAAs are amino acids- which are the building blocks of protein.

I’m not sure all the science behind it, but I can tell you it works for me.

I have a lot less lactic acid build-up when I add in my BCAAs during and after the run.

I make sure to continue eating and drinking because my body needs to be refueled: proteins and carbs are necessary!

2. Leg Drains

Again with the science- I don’t know all the deets.

And “people” say it doesn’t work.

It works.

I lay on the ground for 10-15 minutes with my legs in the air.

leg drain 1

3. HOT Bath with Epsom Salts

Yeah yeah yeah… ice bath repairs the whatnots and whoknows.


But ever since that first race I have gone with heat over cold and am a better person for it.

If I’m at a racecation, I hit the hot tub. And I’m never alone in there- other racers feel this works for them too!

If I’m at home, it’s the Epsom salt hot as I can stand it bath.


4. Compression

After the bath, I slip into my compression socks or sleeves and go about my day.

My calves haven’t hurt since 2011- I swear by them!

I have a few different brands and other than fitting a little differently I can’t say that one is better than the others.

SLS, Pro-Compression, and Zensah are what I own at home.

Because I have MONSTER calves, I tend to wear Zensah most often. They fit without a struggle and compress just right.



The last step to recovery is to get out and move. 

No sitting on the couch and no taking an immediate nap.

If I’m at a runDisney event, it’s an easy answer: go to Disney World! The theme parks are the best part of race recovery, IMO. 

And while I’m out, I make sure to grab some protein to help refuel the engine. 

If I’m at home, I’ll make up some eggs, and then run those errands I keep putting off. Just to get out and stretch my legs. 

Hope these tips help. Good luck with post-run and post-race recovery.

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Thursday 13th of November 2014

I'm a big believer in compression after a race. I'm not sure of the science behind it, all I know is it works wonders for me!


Tuesday 11th of November 2014

I have never heard nor took the BCAA capsules. I will have to try them. Definitely epsom salt baths and compression!


Tuesday 11th of November 2014

WOW you ran a half marathon at six months pregnant? You ROCK!!! Great tips for race recovery!

April at RunTheGreatWideSomewhere

Tuesday 11th of November 2014

Love all of these! I'm going to plan on trying some of them next time (in three weeks!!). I've never heard of the BCAAs but I'm going to go see if I can find them before Space Coast! I'm facing about three hours DRIVING the car back from that race so all recovery voodoo is welcome!


Tuesday 11th of November 2014

Yeah- the BCAAs after any workout seems to really help recovery for me.

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