Recently, I found myself in a bit of a situation: I was a week out from my summer goal race and I was offered an opportunity to try a race that I had wanted to compete in for a very long time.
The only issue? They were a week apart.
Typically, I don’t advise taking on races back-to-back like this, but it was something I really wanted to do so I took on the potential risks that come from two consecutive high intensity weekends. With the fall race season approaching, I know it’s something that some of my fellow runners may encounter as well, so I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that got me successfully through both races.
The moment I crossed the finish line of the first race, I began recovering for the second. I took a moment to celebrate my accomplishment and then headed to a nearby cold river and stood in it to bring down inflammation in my legs. If this isn’t an option, find some ice packs at the medics tent and apply to your legs for five or ten minutes.
I got a massage two days after. Before my first race, I booked my massage therapist to ensure that she could flush out my tired muscles and speed up healing for my next event.
I fueled right. I drank plenty of water and reached for healthy foods whenever I was hungry. A few days before my second race, I cut down on fibre to prime my digestion for the event.
I got my sleep. One of the biggest keys to recovery is sleep so your body can repair muscles and rebuild tissues. I went to bed as many hours before midnight as is socially acceptable and allowed my body to wake up naturally whenever possible.
I kept my race week training minimal and recovery focused. I focused on doing easy, recovery runs with a few small, race pace-focused bursts to keep my leg turnover strong.
I decided my paces in advance of my second race. That was to ensure that I didn’t overdo it. When it came to race day for the second race, I made sure that I wasn’t pushing to my limit. I kept it at about 85 per cent of my maximum effort because I knew that I had used a lot of my race focus up the week before. I went hard but paced myself carefully, reaching the finish line with a sense of accomplishment because I was not completed exhausted.
I took a complete rest week the following week. A double race week is asking a lot of your body, no matter what the distance. Rest and recovery is an important element of staying healthy as a runner so if you attempt what I did, take it easy after!