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Olympic runner Kara Goucher’s 5 tips for recovering like a pro


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Photo: Oiselle
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As a professional distance runner, Kara Goucher competed at the Olympics three times and is a World Championships silver medalist (NBD). And today, the 39-year-old formerly Nike-sponsored fan favorite can also add fashion designer to her resumé: her five-piece Kara Collection for Oiselle launches today—and best of all, it’s all about recovery. (You learn how to give your body the TLC it needs when you spend years chasing new PRs.)

“These are things you can wear to brunch or the grocery store, but that you’ll also want to pull on after a workout.”

“I wanted items that would be really comfy, but would also be functional and more tailored than a typical sweatshirt,” says Goucher, whose favorite item in the collection is the $82 sleeveless hoodie. “These are things you can wear to brunch or the grocery store, but that you’ll also want to pull on after a workout.” So once she’s slipped into her (self-designed) sweats, how does Goucher recover from a hard workout?

Read on for Goucher’s 5 tips on making the most of your post-workout routine, and shop her collection below.

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Photo: Oiselle

1. She starts refueling as soon as she stops running—but not with solid foods

“The first thing I do when I’m done running is think about rehydrating my body and getting some calories in there,” she says. Her favorite post-workout drinks are Nuun and shakes made with Vega protein powder. “But I don’t just sit there and chug them,” she says. “If you do that, your body can’t absorb all the nutrients you’re trying to give it. So I sip them slowly while I’m stretching or driving home.”

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2. She takes brunch very seriously

“My stomach isn’t usually ready for hardcore food right after a workout, which is why protein shakes are good for me,” Goucher says. “But after 30 minutes or an hour, my stomach starts waking up and is ready to eat—and that’s when I go to brunch.” Her go-to order is eggs, any style. “I love eggs and avocado, plus some toast and potatoes on the side. And I’m not discriminatory about my eggs—I’ll take a good omelet, I’ll eat them over veggies, or I’ll have them scrambled.” Then in the afternoon, she snacks on toast with almond butter, avocado, or coconut oil.

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3. She swears by stretching and foam rolling

You won’t find Goucher lazily lounging in front of the TV while trying to touch her toes. “My routine is all dynamic stretching,” she says. “I do lots of leg swings, walking and pulling my knees in to my chest, or pulling my foot up to my butt, and I finish with some balance work to remind my tired body what it needs to remember as it gets fatigued at the end of a workout or race.” She also foam rolls every night before bed. “It doesn’t take long, but it makes a huge difference, I promise.”

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4. Her goal is to get off her feet ASAP—which means speedy showers are a must

Some runners swear by long, luxurious showers. Goucher is not one of them. “I really like a quick shower,” she says. “And I hardly wash my hair. It’s always in a bun or a braid, so I use dry shampoo and only wash it in the shower around once a week.”

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5. She loves sleep—but admits she doesn’t get enough of it

“Before I had my son, I would sleep so much,” she says. “When I wasn’t training, I was sleeping. But that’s harder with a child!” Now, Goucher says she takes a 20-minute nap to recharge during the day, or she’ll meditate for a few minutes. “Sleep is super important,” she says. “The more you sleep, the more your body can handle. It’s just amazing what sleep does as far as repairing. Even if you can’t sneak in a nap, try to take a mental break from everything for a few minutes.”

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