Recovering from long runs done well03 July, 2013 0 comments
Recovery from long runs done right
If you’re training for a half or a full marathon, long runs are a necessary part of your workout routine. Or maybe you just enjoy being out on the road for an extended time every once in a while! Either way, a long run can really be exhausting for your legs, and your whole body. What is more, it can keep you from advancing in your training schedule if you’re still too tired or unable to resume exercising after a few days. Therefore, if you want to reap the benefits of a long run, it is important that you know how to recover well, as well as how to train.
Below are some guidelines and tips for great recovery after long runs – so that you end up stronger and will hit the road again soon feeling great!
Change into dry clothes – After an extended effort, you will probably be drenched in sweat. Although it might sound tempting to just lie down somewhere until you’ve cooled down, you have to remember that at this moment you might be catching a cold easily – your skin is wet and your immune system may be weakened. Therefore, you should change into dry clothes straight away when you finish your run.
Hydrate with an electrolyte drink – Although you probably had a bottle with you during the run, it is still important to drink right away when you get home to reduce the risk of dehydration. You should make sure you hydrate well for the rest of the day to make up for any losses in your body. It is even better if you choose to have a sports drink or a recovery drink with electrolytes in order to aid recovery of your muscles, since electrolytes will have depleted during the run. If you’re looking for a natural source, go for coconut water, or add blackstrap molasses and some lime juice to regular water.
Eat right away after your run – The long run will have depleted the glycogen stores in your muscles, and the sooner you have some carbohydrates, the quicker you will replenish them. This will help your muscles to restore and recover. In addition, add a good portion of protein to your after-run meal to support those muscles that get you further and faster. The classic chicken breast and rice dinner would be a great option here! If you can’t stomach a meal straight after a run, choose a drink that gives you both carbohydrates and protein instead.
Do some proper stretching – To prevent stiffness and pain in your legs, take some time to properly stretch your muscles after a long run. Don’t skip it – consider it a part of the workout! Work through all the relevant muscles, focusing more on those you tend to have trouble with. If you’re feeling sore the next day, extra stretching then can help to relieve the pain.
Ice your sore spots – If you have any sore or aching muscles when you come home from a run, ice can help to prevent the pain from getting worse, and to help in recovery time. Use an ice pack to focus on certain spots, or soak your feet in a cold bath to relieve aches. Instead, you might enjoy taking a cold shower and directing the water towards your sore legs to make them recover faster.
Have a good night’s sleep – After your long run, your whole body will need a good rest to feel well and recovered the next day. Therefore, forget about going out the night after, or even about staying up late to watch a film. Instead, go to bed early to make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep. How much sleep exactly you will require, depends on your individual needs. You will probably have to stay in bed for a little longer than usual to make up for the exhaustion.
- Take it easy for the next few days – During the first days after your long run, your primary goal should be to recover. Therefore, you can decide to take rest days or to do some easy exercise. If you do decide to work out, make sure that you are doing so for recovery – go at an easy pace to relax and release stiffness in your legs, and don’t try to push hard. Instead of jogging, you can also try some light swimming – it is easier on the joints, and refreshing water can benefit your muscles.
If you have really long runs in your workout schedule, it is essential that you recover well in order to prevent injury and other risks of overtraining. Do you have any other good tips that you use to recover from long runs? Share them in the comments!