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How To Prevent Pain And Soreness After A Race

Me and Nina pose moments after crossing the finish line (Credit: Kristen Hicks)
Photo: Kristen Hicks

NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training!

What are some ways to help prevent or lessen post-race pain—especially if you live in a four-story walk-up!

At the end of a race, the natural inclination is to celebrate and relax—and you should! But it’s crucial to remember proper recovery, so you can return to your normal life feeling fresh and pain-free. There is no magic formula, but there are many small things you can do to help lessen the pain.

To minimize post-race soreness, the first step is to get in a cool-down jog. Just 10 minutes of easy running followed by 5 minutes of static stretching will do the trick. Immediately after, refuel with plenty of fluids as well as a snack with both carbs and protein.

Ice baths, while uncomfortable, are another great recovery tool. Buy a five-pound bag of ice from the grocery store and dump it in your tub. Don’t add too much water so the ice melts quickly—it should be very cold. Submerge your legs or sit from the waist down for 10 minutes.

Foam rollers are also great to use for an at-home massage. You can buy them online or at your local running store. Continuing to rehydrate and getting plenty of sleep will also help. Be patient if the stairs don’t feel great! Your body worked hard and it needs some time to repair.

Have a question for Coach Kigar? Email editorial@womensrunning.com or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #AsktheCoach.