Head to Toe with Coach Jeff: Post Race Recovery

June 6, 2023

Team Injinji athlete and running coach Jeff Browning is back with another installment of "Head to Toe with Coach Jeff." In 2023 alone, he has placed first in four ultras, the Sedona Canyon 125 Mile, the Mesquite Canyon 50 Mile, the Elephant Mountain 50K, and the Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile.

In this video blog, Coach Jeff highlights best practices for recovery from a race. Running long distances at race pace takes a toll on your body and it is important to be intentional with your movement and nutrition afterward. In this video Coach Jeff answers the questions: How soon should I run after a race? What should I eat after a race? How long should I recover after a race? And more. 

Post Race Recovery Video Transcript

Hey, Jeff Browning here with coaching tips on recovery. So, I just got done with the Sedona Canyon 125 miler exactly three weeks ago. This is my third long run back. I spent two big back-to-back days in the Grand Canyon two weeks after, and I wanted to give you some tips on the recovery strategy that I recommend.

Let's talk about the first 24-72 hours after the event. That's when it's most important to eat real, nutrient-dense foods. I personally go for animal-based products so I'm doing a lot of eggs, raw dairy, raw cheese, steak, and all different kinds of meat. I do a lot of animal proteins and very low carb, like low carb veggies and good fats like olives, feta cheese on small salads. I err on the side of protein, which really helps keep my inflammation low right after the event so I don't balloon up.

The longer the event the bigger the window, so 100 miler, 100 plus miler, or 200 miler, within the first 72 hours I'm going to be pretty strict. I don't really worry about the very first meal after. You can eat some carbs and that kinda stuff but after that, I go pretty low carb and I recover pretty fast from the inflammatory response. Then if I want to go celebrate I'll do it on day four with pizza and beer or something like that, but that's the time to have the celebratory meal, not right in the first 24-48 hours.

Then the other stuff that I do immediately is start working on mobility. I do cross-training like hiking, biking, elliptical, or stuff that wouldn't be extremely weight-bearing like running. Don't start running right away. Take a few days and take it easy. I do some mobility work, some yoga type stretching, and also get to start doing some light strength training in the gym, usually three sessions in the first week back. After two or three days, I get in the gym and start lifting again every other day doing real light dumbbell work, full body core work, all that kind of stuff all the while continuing mobility work. I think those are the most important things, eating nutrient-dense foods and getting your movement back.

When I'm starting to feel better, I'll take about five to seven days off running and just cross-train before I get back on running easy for a week after a 100 miler. If it's a 50k or 50 miler I might do a day or two, maybe three days depending on if I'm beaten up or not. A 100k might be three or four days and 100 milers are about a week, so just listen to your body. Give yourself some forgiveness that week and make sure you listen and don't force yourself back. Cross-training is always a good option if you're feeling a little beaten up after races. 

The last thing, one more thing, make sure you hydrate with electrolytes. Make sure you're getting sodium and potassium to mineralize that water and keep yourself hydrated after the race.

Those are my tips. Giddy-up! 

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