Proper recovery is a crucial part of any running routine. What you do following your workouts has a massive impact on your fitness growth and running performance.
It could either put you on a path to recovery or compromise all of your hard work. A solid post-run recovery sequence helps your body heal the damaged muscle tissues and prepare you for your sessions—key for successful training.
That said, many runners scoff at the importance of proper running recovery. Most don’t have an after running recovery plan.
Today I got you covered, buddy. I’m going to share with you a simple sequence to get your post-run plans on track. Take the following measures after every run to ensure recovery, longevity, and optimal benefits from each workout.
Are you excited?
Then here we go.
Your first step toward recovery post-run is to replace fluids you lose through sweating—aka rehydrate.
Water is essential for every nutrient transfer and metabolic function in the body; therefore, drinking plenty of it will improve all of your bodily functions.
Not addressing your hydration needs prevent you from fully reaping physiological benefits of your training.
As a rule, shoot for 20 ounces for optimal recovery.
To assess your hydration levels, use the pee test. Dark urine means you need more water. If it’s the color of lemonade or lighter, you’re probably well-hydrated.
If you want to take your recovery strategy up a notch, go for chocolate milk. The drink contains the recommend ration 4:1 carbohydrate to protein—almost the exact amount your body uses up during exercise.
2. Stretch Post Run
Although the science on the effectiveness of stretching post-run for recovery is still debatable (check this research and this), I’m still a big advocate for it.
Maybe it’s just the placebo effect, or the force of habit, I usually end up feeling—and performing better-after completing a few post-run stretches than when I don’t.
Regular stretching helps improve your flexibility, increases range of motion and maintains good muscles controls. Tight muscles increase the risks of getting injured, or for it to affect your running performance.
And the best time to do it, no doubt is after a run when the muscles are loose and warm, thus less likely to tear or pull.
Invest at least 5 to 10 minutes in static stretching.
Focus on your main muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, piriformis, and low back reduce. This should help you feel strong and loose the next time you go out for a run.
Just as it’s important to replace the fluid loss, you should also refuel your body with the right nutrients.
After exhausting your energy stores, replenish them to help your body repair tissue damage, bounce back, and get ready for the next workout. This is especially the case if you’re logging in some serious miles or trying to build muscle mass.
As a rule, consume something within 60 minutes of the end of your run.
Your muscles crave two primary things to recover: carbohydrate, which is stored as glycogen and function as the primary source of fuel while running, and protein, the building blocks used to repair and build muscle mass.
This is also the best way to prevent running-induced hunger—or runger. The carbs will replenish your muscle energy stores while the protein works to repair muscle damage.
Most research recommends opting for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. The suggestions also vary depending on the type of training you do.
Good examples include hard-boiled eggs with a banana, an omelet with a smoothie, etc.
4. Sleep Well
Sleep is one of the cheapest—and likely most underrated—aspects of an efficient recovery sequence.
Your body recovers best when at rest during rapid eye movement—or REM—sleep cycle. During sleep, your body releases the growth hormone, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.
That’s when your body is still hard at work healing itself, repairing muscle damage, and moving waste product out of your body.
Get at least eight hours a night for your overall health. Sleep more following hard workouts. You should be feeling fresh and energized in the morning—otherwise, your sleep quality is off-kilter.
5. The Day After
This is a step that’s necessary only if you train hard a lot. Active recovery, as in gentle exercise, increase blood flow and nutrients to your muscles as well help transport waste product that hinders recovery, like lactic acid, throughout your body.
In theory, this helps muscle recovery and replenish faster.
Your recovery workout should be performed at a 4 or 5 on a ten rate of perceived effort scale. Aim for 60 to 70 percent of your max—your heart rate shouldn’t exceed zone 1 or 2.
Remember that you’re training for recovery—to get enough blood flowing—not to set a new PR.
As a runner, you can achieve this through a recovery a run. This session consists of a few miles at an easy and comfortable pace to loosen muscles and help release toxin build-up.
You can also opt for a complementary form of cross-training, such as weight lifting, yoga, biking or swimming.
The right post-run recovery strategy is the one that works best for you. You just need to have the motivation to experiment and find the most effective way for you to recover from your runs. The rest is just detail.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.
In the meantime thank you for reading my post.
Keep Running Running Strong.