Recovery is Just as Important as the Run
You just finished up a long run, and though you may think it's enough to bury your face in a towel and guzzle from your water bottle, the truth is a little more complicated. Your body has broken itself down a bit, and now it's time to get things back on track. Thankfully, there are some great ways to speed up recovery!
1. Hydration and Nutrients
You should rehydrate yourself as soon as you finish a run. The amount you need depends on your run – a good rule of thumb is to base this on your level of thirst; drink enough water to appease your thirst and avoid the consequences of overhydrating.
Nutritional recovery is just as important as hydration – your body and muscles use nutrients to run and move. Try to replace these after a run as soon as possible. Replenishing your body’s sugar is a key component after a run, as this helps to address the loss of sugar from aerobic activities like running.
Making sure the body gets nutrient replenishment 20 to 30 minutes after each run is ideal. Liquid form, like recovery gels and protein drinks, are the fastest-working, but something is always better than nothing.
2. Mobilize Before & After
While it’s easy for most people to warm up prior to a run, few of us take into account the cool-down phase. Easing your body from a highly active phase into rest is a critical piece to maximizing performance.
Cool the legs off with a light, low-effort jog or walk. The duration depends on your effort, but the more intense the run, the longer the cooldown. This is also a great time to work through any areas of tightness or soreness throughout your body with foam rolling and positional stretching – your body is warm and in an ideal state to restore and expand on ranges of motion.
Keep in mind that mobility and stretching should not be treated as a something you only do before and after a run. Having a dedicated day to help work through any muscle tightness and other restrictions in your ranges of movement will not only boost performance on your next run, but to your overall recovery as a whole.
3. Keep Moving
Muscle soreness and fatigue is completely normal in the days following any run, especially longer efforts. The key is to keep moving so that your body can pump blood to the sore muscles and help “flush” these areas. Low-level intensity activity for 20 to 30 minutes is ideal here – riding the bike, going for a walk or hike, or even a quick yoga session willhelp.
At the end of the day, remember that the more you move, the better you will feel.
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