Good morning! Hope your Monday is off to a good start. I have two (somewhat) hell days and then I leave Wednesday for Tampa! Very excited to have a short break :)
As I’ve mentioned, Saturday was my 20 mile training run. The run went better than expected and was definitely a confidence booster heading into the taper. But I think one of the most important parts of my run happened as soon as I hit “stop” on my Runner Keeper app: recovery. So much focus is on actually running that recovery gets pushed to the end of the list. It may be the “easiest” aspect of training but by no means does that diminish its importance.
For me, recovering right includes more than a cooldown and stretching. It deals with nutrition, hydration AND rest. I know I put my body through a lot during long runs so I make sure to return the favor in the form of calories and sleep. Long runs are very subjective to each runner but for me, I consider anything over 10 miles “long.”
How I Recover From A Long Run:
1. Walk and stretch. Immediately after running I walk for 5-10 minutes and stretch. I usually do basic stretches such as hamstring, quad and IT band.
2. Rehydrate and refuel. While stretching I drink water and coconut water and eat a banana. Like most people, I can’t stomach much immediately after running, BUT I know how important it is in the recovery process. A banana is easy to eat and has yet to upset my stomach. After 30 minutes (and a shower!) I’m ready for breakfast #1.
3. Nap. Oh how I love napping after a long run. I understand that some people don’t have the luxury of napping, but even if you can relax on the couch for 20 minutes I think you can reap some of the benefits.
4. Be (somewhat) lazy. You just pushed your body really hard and DO deserve to take it easy for the rest of the day. However, I find my legs recover faster if I go for a short walk and continue with my typical activities.
5. Roll it out. I have such a love-hate relationship with the stick and foam roller. But such a necessity in recovery (and running for that matter!). I also like putting my legs up a wall and then stretching some more.
6. Massage. A sports massage is my favorite post-long run
guilty pleasure (I don’t feel too guilty about it). I went yesterday for one and had the masseuse spend extra time on my quads and hamstrings.
7. Focus on nutrition. For me that means quality AND quantity. Yes, quantity. I burned a lot of calories, expended a lot of energy and I need to repair my body properly. This goes for the 48 hours after a run (my Saturday and Sunday). That means a lot of food on a…GASP!…rest day. Guess what, that’s necessary and well-deserved ;) I’m typically more hungry the day after a long run anyway, so it works out.
8. Journal. I love writing down how I feel, mentally and physically, after a run. Not only is it empowering to put my accomplishment onto paper (or a computer), but it’s helpful to look back on for future long runs. This can be applied to any situation, not just exercise. Keeping track of your progress and lessons learned can be the motivating push you need in future situations.
Some people like to do a shake-out run the day after a long run, but a leisurely walk works well for me. Give your body what it needs so it can continue doing amazing things!
How do you recover after a tough workout?
Strength and Sunshine says
I love that you include journaling! SO good to release the mind as well as relax the muscles ;)
And so fun/helpful to look back on months later!
These are great tips! I wish I liked running more. My parents always roll after a gym workout, so I know how important it is.
Ellen | A Pop of Pink
Good for them for rolling after every workout! I need to get in that habit.
You’re so right – recovery is incredibly important after a long run, especially when you’re up in the 20 miles! I think it’s important to EAT, do not restrict at all. I just listen to my body and give it what it wants — usually something healthy, and not stress about quantity or anything. And like you said — rest rest rest! :)
Exactly! I do not feel guilty for being lazy and eating after a long run. Definitely what my body needs!