Friday, November 15, 2013

Preventing Blood Clots After a Race-cation

As much fun as local races are, I am absolutely certain that all of us have either done destination races, or have dreams and goals to do some destination races. In any case, there are many races around the world to conquer! And while it may not be the best idea to hop on a plane soon after a long distance race, there are different ways to help prevent the risk of blood clots.

To begin, it is necessary to understand why the risk of blood clots while flying is higher after a race. First, we tend to travel with luggage at our feet, which reduces the amount of room we have to stretch our legs. Second, our dehydration and muscle inflammation post-race combined with the plane’s high altitude creates a less than ideal situation for runners; in a few words, it is a “perfect storm for blood clots.”

Photo from Women’s Running Online

Here are some preventative measures to take to help reduce the risk of blood clots:

Planning & Scheduling
1. Schedule your flight home over 24 hours after your race.
2. Book an aisle seat (or front row seat or emergency aisle seat) for extra leg room.

After the Race
1. Do not sit down – walk around for at least 10 minutes after crossing the finish line.
2. Take a cold bath/shower to help reduce inflammation (click
HERE to see my tips on how to make ice baths more tolerable).
3. Replenish your energy and electrolytes by eating small meals and sipping fluids.
4. Try to avoid alcohol (I know I’ve broken this rule at runDisney races haha!).

1. Move around on the plane as much as possible. Every 15 minutes, point and flex your feet 20 times. Get up at least once per hour to walk around and do toe raises and leg extensions. Doing all of this will help to increase blood flow to your lower legs and feet.
2. Do not sit with your legs crossed.
3. Wear comfortable clothing as well as compression sleeves.
4. Stow your bags in the overhead compartment instead of at your feet so you have more more for leg extension.

Zensah Compression Sleeves

If you ever do have a blood clot, make sure to go see your doctor about it – remember, always listen to your body!

The warning signs of a blood clot are:
-Sensation of a muscle cramp that doesn’t let up
-Swelling in one leg
-Bruising or tenderness in lower leg or behind the knee
-Warm feeling in a particular area that may worsen when standing or walking

This post was referenced through a Women’s Running article. To view the full article, click HERE.

QOTD: Have you ever felt at-risk for a blood clot after a destination race?


  1. Thanks for bringing this topic to our attention. This is something I've never given a thought.
    Just a side note: I love my compression sleeves and highly reccomend them. I just wore them while traveling to wdw last week!

    1. Very welcome :) And yes, compression sleeves are the best!

  2. I am ALWAYS afraid of this. I have a friend who had one after running a destination race and she had to stop running for months...really scary stuff. These are GREAT tips, and things I also do when flying home after a Disney race! I probably look like a nutcase when I'm pacing up and down the aisles during a flight, haha. You can't be too careful, right?

    1. That is extremely scary... I will gladly look like a nutcase if it means I still get to run lol :)

  3. ah yes, this is one of my biggest fears! i am always folded up like a pretzel on the plane when i know i really shouldn't be.

    i have found for me it's best to substitute the ice bath with a jump in the pool. depending on your location (but i'm thinking winter in orlando), the water might be just as cold and the environment more appealing!

    1. Jumping in the pool would definitely work too I bet! Houston temps are similar to Orlando I'd say so maybe on one of the colder days of winter would be the best option for a colder pool jump lol