Ever gone out for a long run only to return and feel like your legs feel like jelly or even concrete? Running can take a lot of our bodies and we have to give it time to recover. It doesn’t matter whether you are training for a marathon or have just started running for the first time, the recovery is still one of the most important things you need to remember to do. You must treat your legs and body well in between runs so that you can benefit and enjoy your workouts more while increasing your performance. Otherwise, you will end up injured and out of exercise and running for a long time, which is usually very frustrating.
Running – top tips on how to recover quickly
- Stretch, stretch and stretch – This is something a lot of runners forget to do or do little of but the truth is that if you stretch at the end and beginning of every session, you will help to assist your recovery process and increase your flexibility and prevent further injuries. The one of the biggest mistakes that you can do is start running when your muscles are not warmed up or have not been properly stretched. You should begin each run with a 5 to 10-minute walk or jog to warm your muscles up. Follow this with some pre-run stretches and focus on the main muscle groups that you use when running – the hamstrings, the glutes, hip flexors and the quadriceps. You can also add movements that help warm up your back, calf muscles and abdominal muscles. After you finished your run, remember to stretch out your tired muscles!! Don’t ever neglect to do this. It helps to keep your muscles supple and prevent injuries. Focus on the same muscles that you used pre-workout to get the most out of your recovery.
- Hydrate – If you stay hydrated during the day, or before you got out running then you will less likely dehydrate your body when you do go out for a run. Also, by drinking more fluids you will have a less likely chance to experiencing cramps both during and after a run – especially in hot weather. This will help to prevent injuries in the future. Try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day but you will need to replenish your fluids from your run as well, so bare that in mind.
- Ice ice baby – No, not the song – the dreaded ice bath, which many people have a love-hate relationship with. This essential recovery procedure helps speed up your recovery better than a hot bath. This is because a hot bath will add heat to your already inflamed muscles, which will halt the recovery process. However, an ice bath helps to flush out any toxins, lactic acid and will constrict blood flow. If you can bare it then this is something you should be doing as soon as possible.
- Massage – this is a favourite of most runners because there is nothing that can beat a good deep tissue massage, although painful, after a long run to help reduce the effects of a long run. This can be anything from sore legs to muscle tightness. But you don’t need to spend hundreds of $$$ to get a good massage. You can do this yourself using some products from the supermarket. Or, the other option is to fork out some money on a regular basis. It will work, trust me! Plus, it is a good excuse to get a massage.
- Compression sports gear – lycra, and more lycra! Although this latest trend in fitness fashion isn’t the sexiest it helps to promote better blood flow and more oxygen to the muscles. This all helps to pump more blood back to the heart, which can speed up the removal of toxins and waste, which build up in your body during those long run sessions. These running tights will help you to avoid cramping as much as possible and prevent muscle damage.
- Running – yes, this sounds crazy but one of the best ways to recover from a long run is to run again. This is called a recovery run, which is usually very slow. It is a great way to flush out toxins, lactic acid and promote blood flow. To get to the point, this can help you get fitter!
- Track how much you have run in your shoes – this is very important for posture and muscle recovery for runners. At around 500 miles, the soles of the shoes can become worn and can affect the muscles in your feet and legs. You need to get fitted for proper shoes by a professional to make sure you do not pronate, which means that your feet roll in. Replace shoes regularly.
- Start out slowly – you should not be racing to finish when you just start a run. Pace yourself and don’t put too much pressure on your legs immediately. Get into it slowly by jogging and eventually increasing your speed. This can also stop you from getting too tired early in the run.
- Post-run nutrition – If you are like me, then you will know that post-run you don’t always feel like eating but this is the best time to eat. You need to refuel your muscles quickly! So, prepare what you are going to eat before so that your body can get the right nutrients straight away. You will need a relatively high carb and protein intake within the first half an hour after finishing a run. This is because these foods will help to repair and replenish your muscle tears, aid recovery and help rebuild your body in time for your next session. The carbs will help your body’s glycogen stores.
Now that you know the top tips for getting the best out of your recovery pre and post-run today. If you need any running advice, feel free to speak to any of our trainers or personal trainers at Thanyapura Phuket. They will be more than happy to help!
Optimise your potential and get the most of our your running now!
About the Author
Tom Topham holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science (Human Performance) from Brunel University, England. He also comes from a triathlon background, competing as an age-grouper and holds a level 2 triathlon coaching qualification.
About the Author
Bochakorn began her education in conventional medicine as a nurse, then shifted to embrace natural healing and integrative medicines. Her training and certifications abroad include: Nutrition and Western Herbal Medicines, Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
During her therapeutic sessions, she may also incorporate other aspects of integrative medicines when required, including: acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, nutritional, supplements and herbal recommendation.