To reduce soreness and fatigue from training and racing, try these techniques:
1. Eat! Pick a food that has both carbs and protein as soon as possible after training or racing – preferably with 15-30 minutes. Research has shown that your body jumpstarts your recovery if you give it some food right away – it replenishes your glycogen reserves (which are sugars stored in the liver as fuel) and begins repair of damaged muscle tissue faster.
2. Take a quick cold bath! It sounds uncomfortable, but a cold bath taken right after running will constrict the capillaries, which will force blood up and out of your legs. Blood pooling in your legs is one of the main causes of leg soreness after training (and racing) since the waste products that are sitting in the blood cause damage to your tissues – think of rotting trash sitting in a kitchen instead of being thrown outside in the trash can.
3. Self massage! Especially of your leg muscles will also help move blood and waste products out of your legs. Rub your legs in long, smooth movements with the heels of your hands from farther away, up towards your heart. Don’t try to rip your muscles apart; just a comfortable kneading type action is perfect.
4. Put your feet up! Prop your legs up with a few pillows to further the process of moving blood out of your legs, and take a nice nap. Also, this is a good time to ice any areas you’ve had problems with, such as knees or ankles. If your arches have been a problem, sit up after your nap and roll your foot over a frozen can for ten minutes.