Many runners think that more is better when it comes to running. However, while being consistent is important, to improve running performance and reach the finishing line injury-free, one has to take the time to recover. Earlier, Elijah McClain had spoken about how diverse types of exercises, including running, deplete the body’s store of glycogen, which tends to be used by the body to create energy. A challenging run may also result in muscle soreness, which needs time to repair. Hence, it is vital for people to give their body enough time to rest and follow advantageous post-run recovery practices.
Here are a few effective post-run recovery tips one can follow:
- Drink plenty of water: Hydration is vital to many body functions. Water in the body helps in keeping the joints lubricated, aids regulate temperature and blood pressure, as well as supports proper muscle function and recovery. Drinking water before and after a run can help elevate peak performance. The amount of water one would need to drink would vary depending on diverse factors, ranging from the weather to the mileage and length of a run.
- Restore electrolyte balance: When a person sweats, their body gets depleted of important electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium. Without these electrolytes, one may experience muscle cramps or lightheadedness. And, their body also has to work harder to recover. One would especially have to restore their electrolyte levels after a long run of 90 minutes or more, or after having a run in hot and humid weather. To do so, runners should supplement their water intake with an electrolyte drink or powder mix.
- Nourish the body: A post run meal should ideally comprise of both complex carbohydrates and lean protein. This meal should ideally be consumed within 30 minutes to 2 hours after a run. Sweet potatoes, lentils, beans and peas are a few of the best sources of complex carbohydrates for runners, while high protein food items include fish, lean meat, and eggs.
- Mix up the training routine: Cross training is a good way to avoid overworking particular muscles while also staying active. Cross training typically involves mixing workouts in order to target varied muscle groups. Low impact activities like swimming, yoga or biking can provide muscles and joints a required break after a challenging run. Depending on the body of a runner, they may even consider a full rest day with no workouts for one to two days a week.
- Cool down and stretch: Runners can be prone to experiencing soreness in the legs after a run, particularly in the calves, hips, hamstrings and quads. Having a proper cool down post run, while stretching, can help in muscle recovery and may even play a role in preserving the range of motions in the joints.
Previously, Elijah McClain had spoken about how proper post-run recovery helps runners to avoid injuries like strained tendons and fractures. It can also reduce soreness in the legs that commonly happens after a run, and improve overall performance.