Tips on Recovery

As with any sport, running will progressively break down muscle tissue and then rebuild to make you more fit.  The impact is greater the longer distances you run. There are some simple steps you can take after your cool down that will assist your body in the recovery process, perhaps prevent injury, and can help prepare your body for your next workout.

  1. FLUID REPLACEMENT:  It is important to replace the fluids your body sweats out.  Take in fluids the first hour or two after a workout.  A typical post-run sign of dehydration is extreme fatigue. You’ll know you have adequate fluid if your urine is light yellow in color.  Recovery Drinks (like GU Recovery drink)
  2. EAT SOMETHING: Ideally you should eat with 30 minutes.  Include about 60% carbs to replenish depleted glycogen in your body and protein for muscle repair:  breakfast burrito, pancakes with walnuts and a glass of (soy) milk, pasta with a meat sauce, or a bowl of bean/vegetable chili over rice are some examples.   Some people cannot eat after a long run, so try a recovery drink that has the carb/protein blend.  Gu Recovery drink has the appropriate carbohydrate to protein ratio and is easy to stomach after a hard run.
    2. ICE BATH:  Sounds awful, but it is extremely beneficial.  Get in the tub, fill it with cold water, then put the ice in.  Wrap upper body in a towel and bring in a book.   Stay in for 15 minutes.  Doing this will help reduce inflammation and reduces post-run soreness. 
    3. ICE PACK:  If you don’t feel like an ice bath but have muscle soreness, use an ice pack and ice any sore areas for 15 minutes.  If soreness continues, ice 2-3 times a day. 
    4. COMPRESSION SHORTS/TIGHTS:  Compression apparel essentially mimics KinesioTape:  reduces excessive muscle movement, increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscle tissue, minimizing lactic acid buildup and muscle soreness.  Wear them for 8 to 24 hours.  Examples:  CW-X or Skins
    5. REST:  Some people respond best with having some rest or a nap after a long run. 
  3. FOAM ROLLER OR ADDADAY:  A foam roller or addaday can break through tight tissue and help reduce soreness significantly. 
  4. EASY ACTIVITY:  Especially after a long run, it’s a good idea to schedule lighter activities to allow your body to recover.   Some people actually respond better to some movement after a particularly hard work-out. 
  5. RECOVERY RUN:  A common mistake runners make is to go out on a “recovery run” and run hard again.  This can lead to injury.  Allow about 48 hours between hard workouts.  The “Recovery” runs on your schedule should be at an EASY pace.  They allow you to get in needed mileage without causing further muscle breakdown.

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