Running. Whether you love or hate it, you have to admit that it’s a great form of exercise – and as with any other sport, its practitioners run the gamut from amateur to athlete. However, one experience all runners inevitably share is common post-workout soreness. We’ve all heard that old axiom that beauty is pain; but how accurate is it, really? Recovery is a vital part of any runner’s training regimen. Here, I provide a few tips and tricks for a speedy and effective post-run recoup.
Eat to feed your muscles
Whenever you run, you will find yourself with microscopic tears in your leg muscles. This is completely normal and even healthy; in fact, these muscle tears make you stronger! These during-workout tears cause an experience that you’ve likely had, but never needed a name for. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness makes your body feel much worse on the second day post-workout than it had on the first. To effectively repair these micro-tears, you should make sure you are feeding yourself a diet of health foods that can properly support your recovery, such as a banana with peanut butter. The potassium and sugar from the banana combined with the protein of the peanut butter will reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery time.
Take a warm shower/bath and do light stretching
Your muscles will tighten up and shorten in length after a workout. Left as is, this has the potential to cause some serious discomfort. The last thing you might want to do is get up and stretch – but lengthening the muscles will drastically decrease the pain you feel later. Warm water from the shower or bath will also loosen tense muscles, so it is best to take a moment to relax in water beforehand. Make sure to stretch lightly! Pushing yourself too hard after a run could lead to injury.
Give yourself enough recovery time
Making sure you rest enough is one of the best things you can do to recover as quickly as possible. If you go into a workout fatigued you increase your risk of injury. It just makes more sense to give yourself the proper time (1 to 3 days depending on how you feel) instead of taking on too much and having to sit out even longer while you recover.
There are many things you can do to recover efficiently from running. This list may seem simple, but the points I outline cover some of the best post-workout tactics you can use to help your body adequately recover from the stress of working out.