Essentials For Recovery After A Long Run
There is no doubt that long-distance running has a host of benefits for your body. Getting up early and running on your own or with friends can do wonders for your mental and physical health, as well as your sense of wellbeing. However, if you often find yourself feeling sore and fatigued after a run, follow these tips below to maximise your body’s recovery after a long run.
Put Your Feet Up
Whether you have just run a marathon or are training for one, elevating your legs is one of the best things you can do immediately after a long run. This is especially helpful for those who are prone to exercise-related injuries. For example, if you are running through a park, stop just before exiting and put your feet up against a tree trunk for 10 minutes. This will help reduce the amount of fluid that naturally builds up in your legs while running.
Stretch It Out
Stretching after a good run helps to increase your range of motion, which allows your joints to move more freely without getting strains or becoming stiff. While you have probably been given many tips on how to stay injury free running, stretching is one of the most effective ways. While it can seem like too much effort to go to after you’ve just gone for a run, not stretching can increase the risk of poor blood circulation, muscle degeneration, and bodily stiffness – which defeats the purpose of your exercise!
So, to help your body release tension and maximise its recovery after a long run, you can incorporate simple stretches or specific yoga poses after a run, depending on how much time you have.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
You’ve heard this before, and you’re hearing it again: stay hydrated! Honestly, we can’t recommend this enough. Make sure to drink little sips of water throughout your day and especially before, during, and after a long run. If you are running on a hot day, you want to make sure you are replenishing your body’s fluid stores almost as quickly as you are depleting them. Taking smaller amounts more often will keep your body working efficiently while reducing the risk of over-hydrating. But water on its own won’t always cut it. Make sure to have a balanced diet that contains food rich in electrolytes to stay hydrated. Isotonic sports drinks are a great way to top up your water levels while you’re running in the sun.
Replenish Your Electrolytes
If you work up quite a sweat, make sure to feed your body food high in electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals and compounds that not only help to hydrate your body, but also help regulate blood pressure, nerve, and muscle function as well as rebuild tissue. Treat your body (and taste buds!) post-run and throw some electrolyte-rich foods like watermelon, spinach, avocados, bananas, and yoghurt into a smoothie.
While we’re on the topic of post-run nutrition, it’s important to have a balanced diet with generous sources of nutrients, protein, and carbohydrates. Nutrients are vitamins and minerals that play a huge role in maintaining basic bodily functions like metabolism and energy production, which can help prevent many exercise-related injuries and optimise recovery after a long run. And while protein helps with muscle synthesis and repair, carbohydrates give your body the energy it needs to perform and recover.
While you can’t lug around a whole grocery bag and a blender on your run, you can pop some running gels and energy bars in your pocket for when you need a little marathon nutrition. Running or marathon gels help to top up your glycogen stores while running, so you can keep going at a good pace for longer. Energy bars can give you the energy you need to make that last stretch of the run, helping to curb your hunger while being gentle on your stomach. We stock a range of running supplements and accessories to help optimise your performance during your workouts and improve recovery times after a long run.
Get Plenty Of Rest
Make sure to take some time off after a long run or marathon to let your body rest. Jumping straight back into vigorous workouts after a day of hard running will only stretch out your body’s natural recovery times, making you more likely to get injured or perform poorly at the next session. During the period of recovery, try to get power naps in the daytime that last no longer than 20 to 40 minutes, so you don’t find it hard to sleep at night. 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night not only allows your brain to release chemicals that promote muscle recovery after a long run, but it also helps maintain your mood, reaction times, and optimise performance.
Ice, Ice, Baby
In order to improve your body’s recovery after a long run, don’t hop into a hot shower – take an ice bath instead! After a long run, sitting in a tub filled with ice or cold water can help ease any soreness you feel in your legs. Alternatively, you can pop a wet towel into the freezer and dampen it after a run to wrap around a targeted sore area. You could also wrap some ice in a towel and press it against your muscles. That being said, never put ice directly onto your skin as you could get an ice burn.
Make The Most Of Each Run
For more tips on maximising the effectiveness of your runs, head on over to our running blog. And while you’re here, make sure to check out our wide range of running accessories and supplements that come in handy both during and after a good run.
We’ve got the perfect running sunglasses, apparel, running gels, and more that have been tried and tested by runners, for runners.