After one of my favorite LARP events ever, my friend messaged me on Skype. “How’s the recovery going?”

The game had ended Sunday. It was…Wednesday. And I was still sore from all of the crazy physical activity of the game.

Depending on the type of game you play, LARPing (live action role playing) can be physically intense. In my observation, LARPers of various levels of fitness have one thing in common at most games: they all push themselves physically. What can you do to minimize your post-LARP recovery time?

Prevent Injuries and Soreness

By adequately preparing your costuming, weapons, and body, you can save yourself some aches and pains. When it comes to costuming:

  • Consider the things you don’t wear every day. I actually pre-medicate with Advil before getting laced into a Victorian-style corset to prevent aches. If you have new costuming, wear it around the house (even it if feels silly) to test it out and break it in. This is especially important with new footwear.
  • Remember the mundane stuff. Remember to pack extra socks and to change them frequently to prevent smelly feet and the growth of fungus.
  • Think about how to prevent injuries while you are choosing costuming. In other words, if you’re playing a paladin, dress as one – don’t forget your armor if you’re heading into a heavy-combat situation.

When it comes to your weaponry:

  • Inspect your gear before packing. If your game requires weapon inspections, make sure you follow the rules. Only bring safe weapons into play. This includes defensive items like shields (especially if your game allows shield bashing) and spell packets (which can freeze during winter if wet).

Medication

Medication can help you before, during, and after your LARP experience. Check with your doctor about usage.

Know Your Limits

Knowing how far to push yourself is key when it comes to an adequate LARP recovery. Don’t push yourself beyond what you should be doing. If you over-did it at an event, think about what you did to cause the extra aches so you can prevent it next time.

Take an Extra Day

If you’re able, take an extra day off. The LARP I attend runs all weekend, but I don’t usually stick around for very long on Sunday. It’s not that I want to get out of clean-up – it’s that I know my body needs a full day to recover, especially if I was particularly active during the event. Recovery always involves sleeping. If I stay through Sunday, I know I’ll need to take off of work on Monday.

Stay Fit

Yeah, here’s one I don’t do – stay physically fit between events. I do make an effort to walk at a brisk pace when I’m taking my dog out. This way, I don’t become as easily winded when running through the woods in clothing that restricts my breathing.

Apply Heat

Heat can help ease your muscles. During (if a shower is available) and immediately after the game, take a hot shower. Icy-Hot is my best friend – and you can find coupons on the product’s website. I apply this stuff before gearing up, during events, and afterwards to soothe muscle ache.

Do you have any additional tips for LARP recovery? Please list them in the comments.

For more information on LARP safety, check out LARP Examiner.

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