Improve your recovery

Do you experience soreness or fatigue the day after a long run or tough workout?  Below I have outlined some tips to help you improve your recovery, reduce soreness, and get ready for your next training session. 

RECOVERY should begin as soon as you complete your long run, workout, or race.  Timing of post-run activities is very important.  Within 45minutes of completing your long run, workout, or race, you should complete your cool-down, begin hydrating, and eat a recovery snack. 

  • COOL-DOWN.  After a long run this is as simple as walking 5-10minutes.  After a RACE or WORKOUT, this is going out and jogging slowly for a minimum of 10minutes.  The cooldown serves to flush out the muscles by the continued blood flow bringing in nutrients and getting rid of the waste products that were built up during the run/workout/race.
  • HYDRATE. While this is done at regular intervals during your long runs (you do not need to worry about hydrating in shorter races or runs less than 60minutes), you will never get in the amount that you lose in the run.  Post-Run hydration should begin immediately after you finish your run and include electrolytes to restore what was lost in the run.
  • EAT.  Remember you are EATING to RUN, you are NOT running to eat. There is a big difference. Focus on taking in quality foods with a mix of PROTEIN and CARBS, aiming for 200 calories (or more) within 45minutes of completing your session.  One of the best “on the go” recovery foods is the PowerBar Protein Plus Bars.  It’s the ideal blend of Protein & Carbs.  Perfect!  Take this along with water WITHIN 45minutes of completing your long run/workout. Remember to continue to eat at regular periods throughout the day.  While you may not feel hungry immediately following a long run, YOUR MUSCLES NEED NUTRIENTS!
  • STRETCH/ROLL/ICE.  Each person feels good with slightly different techniques, and the key is to take 5-10minutes to employ at least one of the following ideas.  I am a proponent of the Foam Roller, the Stick, using a tennis Ball, using a stretching rope, using the Moji devices, etc.  Anything to get me to stretch and roll!  Some people swear by ice baths for recovery. 

Once the above four steps are completed (cool-down, hydrate, eat, and stretch), you can then focus on a few additional items to continue your recovery process.

  • MASSAGE: A quality therapeutic massage might seem like a splurge, but it will aid recovery.  Deep tissue work will flush out the muscles, aid recovery, help prevent injuries, or help to speed the recovery of an injury.  Seek a quality professional that understands the needs of a runner.
  • SLEEP: Consistent sleep is a key to good training.  Much of your muscle recovery, once you’ve given it the proper fuel, occurs while you are asleep. 

If you practice the above steps on a consistence basis, your recovery will improve! 

Vicki is a distinguished athlete and international competitor, Vicki competed in the 1996 US Olympic Trials in the 10,000 run. She made her marathon debut at the 1999 Hong Kong Marathon, where she qualified for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. In 2001, she was invited to join the Fila Discovery USA training program, a program designed to develop American distance runners into elite marathon athletes able to compete with the best in the world. She has been a member of five USA national teams, including the 1993 World University Games and 1998 IAAF World Road Race Championship in Manaus, Brazil.