COROS COACHES: Training Post-Race

As part of our new COROS Coaches service, we received a few questions regarding the best strategy to return to training safely post-race. Below you will find our coaching insights on the matter as well as various ways to monitor it through EvoLab!

If you would like your own training questions answered, send us an email at and we will be happy to share insights!

What Happens To Your Body During A Race?

Regardless of the race you just competed in, you should always end up in the same situation afterwards – proud of yourself, and exhausted! After a race, your body has entirely diminished many essential components that play crucial roles in your health. It then becomes critical for you to complete a proper recovery so your body can bounce back quickly and effectively into training again.

Let’s dive into our coaching tips and tricks on the best way to approach training after a race, but first:

Did you know?

The average physiological recovery time for ultra-endurance events (50+km) from a muscle damage standpoint varies from 9 to 16 days. So, even if you feel rested 3 days post race, be aware that your muscles are not quite there yet!
Emma Bates proud and exhausted after completing the NYC marathon.

What To Do Right After The Race?

You have just crossed the finish line with absolutely nothing left to give. Now, it is time to recover and especially not think about training for a little while! Here is our 3 step guide for getting back into training after a race!

*Remember that the times shown below are subjective and could vary from one user to another.

  • Passive Recovery (day 0-3): Immediately after the race, allow yourself to sleep in, eat enough (even if you don’t exercise), and hydrate yourself. Make sure to get some walks in to accelerate recovery.

Why does moving contribute in the recovery process?

Whenever you are moving at low intensity, your aerobic mechanism gets activated and serves as a “washout” by using all sorts of fuel types that have been accumulated in your system during your race. Just a light walk is enough to contribute to the recovery process.
  • Active Recovery (day 4-10): Now it is time to add on some light exercise while keeping yourself away from hard, strenuous workouts. Your body still requires recovery but you are maintaining fitness to prevent it from declining too much.
  • Back to Training (day 11-…): After a sufficient recovery, it is now time to get back to regular training sessions in preparation for your next race.

How can I know if I am ready to get back to hard training?

Because your body has just completed an all-out task, a great way to monitor your recovery is by taking a HRV measurement every morning upon waking up. You may feel well rested a few days after the race, but your HRV may tell you a completely different story of what your nervous system is currently experiencing.
HRV trend over time within the COROS app. This feature is available for APEX 2/Pro & VERTIX 2.

How Should My Training Look Like Post-Race?

Now that you have completed a proper recovery and feel ready to go into training again, your training structure will highly depend on what’s happening in your calendar. This is why we have broken down this section into 3 of the most frequent scenarios.

User-Case 1: This Was My Last Race, I Will Be Entering Off-Season

As you have just finished the last race of your season, the next few following weeks are ideal to do a “reset” of the body, assess strengths and weaknesses, and plan for the next season. Both volume and intensity should then be low for a few weeks while pursuing other activities.

Volume (time)Intensity (HR zones)Specificity (race demands)
Reduce to roughly 50% of your volume pre race.
Reduce to only zones 1-2 workouts as you are entering off-season.
Focus on cross-training rather than race specificity.

EvoLab Analysis. The weekly training load is a great way to assess your workload over time. As seen below, it is recommended to bring it down after race season before building back up afterwards.

User-Case 2: I Have Another Race In A Few Months

Now that you have completed this race and recovered for a little while, it’s time to focus on getting back to training for the following race in a few months while still keeping the volume low

Volume (time)Intensity (HR zones)Specificity (race demands)
Add 24-48hrs of rest in between sessions to ensure recovery.
Still a few months away, you still have time to build up volume and slowly build up intensity from there.
Still a few months away, it would be time soon to introduce some race specificity such as mandatory gear or nutrition during long sessions.

EvoLab Analysis. Keeping an eye on your intensity distribution graphs can go a long way during the first few days after a race to assess intensity and progressively build it up towards the next one. Below you can find an athlete competing at the Canyon 50k on April 29th with a strong emphasis on zone 1 (and lower) during the first week following the event.

User-Case 3: I Have Another Race In Less Than 2 Weeks

In this scenario, you do not have time to get back into regular training. For the time left, focus on the recovery process discussed above while completing a few specific workouts here and there. Remember that you can’t improve your race performance 2 weeks prior, but you can worsen it.

Volume (time)Intensity (HR zones)Specificity (race demands)
Add 24-48hrs of rest in between sessions to ensure recovery.
Maintain this as high as the race demands (e.g. if it is a marathon, maintain marathon pace).
Each session should have a focus on your race demands (such as elevation, gear, nutrition, etc.)

EvoLab Analysis. It is recommended to let Base Fitness decrease in between close races as a way to see that the body is recovering as much as possible before taking on another all-out task. Below you can see an athlete’s Base Fitness going through 2 marathon races in 4 weeks. This athlete let Base Fitness come down to baseline values after the races to allow themselves a proper recovery.

Base Fitness trend throughout the course of 2 races.

Should I use recovery tools (e.g. compressions socks, massage guns, ice baths, etc.)?

While there has been no solid evidence supporting the efficiency of those recovery tools, they are harmless which means that if you have been using them for a while we would encourage you to keep doing so. Just be aware that the only evidence-based recovery tools remain sleep, nutrition, and hydration.

If you would like your own training questions answered, send us an email at and we’ll be happy to share insights!

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