Recovery after Running
intensively, be it for a competition, to stay in shape or just for pure
aware of how to look after your body post-run is a necessity. This
article outlines some great tips and advice for those already training
hard and also for anyone wanting to increase training safely.
Stretching and cooling down are a must to prevent injury and also
reduce the onset of D.O.M.S. (delayed onset of muscle soreness).
Depending on how long you trained for, aim to stretch each muscle for
at least a minute and two minutes for sore areas. Try to learn a few
particular stretches suited your needs. For example, runners always get
tight I.T. bands so stretches in this area are highly important.
Cyclists suffer from calf cramp so calf stretches play a valuable part.
Again another vital part of recovery is to replenish lost liquids.
Especially if your training has occurred in hot weather or you have
been sweating a lot. As well as a loss of water, your body will also
have lost electrolytes so aim to drink a sports drink which will
replenish this and help reduce unnecessary muscle cramps. Keep your
water bottle with you at all times.
Eating soon after you have finished a long session will prevent fatigue
and give your body its nutritional needs. Sports bars or a healthy
snack such as a banana can be great foods for on the go.
A few hours later…
The Ice Bath
For those of you who are training really hard, there can be a love and
hate relationship with the ice bath. This can be great for reducing
swelling caused through
the sustained activity and cool the body temperature down very quickly
to prevent overheating. However, it is painful and takes quite a lot of
effort. Having tried it a few times I can say, yes it hurts at first
but trust me you'll get used to it!
The Regular Bath
For those who aren't up to the Arctic experience of the Ice Bath try
having just a regular bath. This time the warm water will act to relax
your body and tense muscles, releasing built up lactic acids and
toxins. For extra benefit add salt to the bath to soothe aches or
alternatively aromatherapy such as lavender, thyme, rosemary or sage -
proven to relax the body and mind.
A great post bath activity is to self-massage used muscles. Depending
on the type of activity and how tender the muscle is, aim to
enough pressure to feel a benefit but without making it sore. Alternate
between long strokes and a circular motions.
Put Your Legs Up!
Literally! By elevating your legs you drain any swelling away from them
which can help recovery from training.
Nothing works like getting some good zzzzzzz's for recovering for
tiring training. When training hard you'll notice you need more sleep
than normal. Where you may usually aim for 7-8 hours you may find
yourself needing 10 hours. This is perfectly normal!
Longer term recovery techniques…
I would always recommend after heavy sessions to try low intensity
training in between. This keeps the muscles fresh and loosens them up
instead of seizing. Your body will soon adapt to recovering much
quicker. Mixing up the intensity of your sessions like this will keep
you mentally fresh too. Try something like a slow jog instead of
running, cross training, doing weights instead of cardiovascular or
even participate in a class.
Much like your usual stretching routine can help keep injuries at bay,
works to enhance your flexibility to a new level. By taking
classes you can work on tough and tight areas and loosen your muscles
up, keeping them supple which makes recovery even quicker.
As well as the physical recovery from training don't forget to look
after yourself mentally. Training hard can be taxing and draining
emotionally. Make sure to rewards yourself with an activity (or
inactivity) like a film, a social event, or something minor just to
break up the stress you put yourself under and take your mind off it.
Go Over Your Race Performance
Professional athletes and those who take training seriously find value
in analysing their performances to see where they went wrong and how
they could improve. Although this is usually only applicable to races
and competition, it can be beneficial to everyday training but keeping
you on schedule and focused after hard sessions. Keep a running
training log and make notes of your schedules, improvement, or any tips
you want to remember. It's also a great place to keep a reminder of
your goals and motivations.
Remember, it's not only the training you do that's valuable but also
what you do after it that can be the difference between injury and succ
Carter is a fully trained fitness and life coach. Visit her
website at: http://www.cartercoaching.co.uk