Are you looking for ways to take your running recovery to the next level?
Recovering quickly so that you can keep the miles going is a hot topic among the running community. I was always looking for the next best thing to help me from feeling sore all day.
My husband is probably an expert in recovery as he obsesses over it because he runs 100 mile weeks regularly. There were times when he was in medical school that he was running 120 mile weeks for months back to back. He did a lot of research on recovery methods for running so that he was not always sore. I have learned a lot from him and my own research and used it in to aid my running recovery.
So, without delay — here are my 15 Essential Running Recovery Tips that will enable you to recover so you can keep pounding out those running miles day in and day out.
Cool Down Miles Are Key to Feeling Good
Running cool down miles has completely taken my next day running recovery up a notch. Especially, after a hard workout, running 2-3 cool down miles (20-25 minutes) can make all the world of difference the next day. Even if you don’t have time for 2-3 even just an extra mile or 10 minutes can really improve recovery. It helps you relax and allow your heart rate to come down.
Dynamic Warm Up > Static Warm Up
Static stretches before running are like stretching a cold hard rubber band. Not good. You will rarely find my husband or me doing static stretches before running. Do things such as leg swings, karaoke, running drills, or even slow slow slow jogging to get your muscles and body awake will help reduce soreness and risk of injury.
More Miles Can Help [within reason]
May seem counterintuitive but I learned from watching my husband. I always wondered how he ran 120 mile weeks and was never sore. Well, there is some truth to it. The more miles your body is used to running, the more resilient your body is. Doesn’t mean you need to run 100 miles a week but tacking on a few extra very easy miles to your weekly mileage can make a world of difference! Make sure you are doing this safely and still sticking to the no more than 10% a week rule.
Hydration Leaves You Feeling Less Lethargic
You have heard this one before. Keeping yourself hydrated whether its with water, Powerade, ginger ale, or recovery drinks like we use Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator and Vitalyte Electrolyte Replacement Drink. Hydration helps flush out your system and keep your blood flowing adequately to your muscles for recovery.
Potassium is an Amazing Running Recovery Supplement
My husband and I both swear by potassium whether its through a potassium supplement or food that is high in potassium. He takes it daily in addition to what he eats. (Warning: if you have kidney or heart problems then please consult with your doctor before doing this) But, it truly helps my muscles recover the next day. I can honestly say I had some of my best workouts the next day when I actually REMEMBERED to take potassium. It also can help with kidney stones if you are someone who suffers with those from time to time.
Everyone should take a Daily Multivitamin
A daily multivitamin has always been part of my life. I think it is just good practice. I feel nobody’s diet is perfect and if you go with a healthy and well-known multivitamin to cover your bases then it can only benefit you and keep you healthy.
Healthy Carbs Rule [better than increasing protein]
All the rage in this day and age is about protein. Honestly, I have found a lot of protein leaves me feeling lethargic and tired the next day. If I focus on healthy and wholesome carbs like pasta, rice, bread, tortilla wraps that are whole grain…even cereal. Then, I feel better. This doesn’t mean sugar! It means getting in enough healthy carbohydrate. Now don’t get me wrong – protein is still important but I’ve found recovery and performance benefit from a higher percentage of health carbs.
Do What You Have to In Order to Sleep
Sleep is precious and crucial to running recovery. Whatever your problem is with sleeping do what you have to do to try and improve your sleep. We take this melatonin supplement and this GABA supplement almost nightly to help get a more restful sleep. Whether its going to bed earlier, supplements, hydration, etc. Do you what you to in order to get proper and restful sleep.
Active Recovery is Better than Stagnant Recovery
A lot of people just want to sit around after a hard workout or race. I know it sounds great, but don’t! Get up and move around! Go for a walk, do some light jogging or go walk around the mall and people watch. It helps get your circulation moving and while not always the most comfortable at the time – it helps speed up the recovery process and your next day of running will be easier.
This is the idea behind some running the day after a marathon, even if only for one very slow mile.
Foam Rolling and Stretching
You have got to work out those tight muscles. Active stretching with a rope I have found has helped my husband and I significantly improve our range of motion. Foam rolling daily in those really tight areas also can help prevent soreness and muscle imbalances.
Form Drills, Form Springs, Running Form is Key
My husband harps on this with me as it is one of my weaknesses. Running form is key to improving just about everything. It helps reduce soreness and speeding up recovery because the distribution of force is greater through the entire body when landing underneath your body with a mid foot strike opposed to out in front of you with your heel. This can also help to greatly reduce your risk of a running injury.
Ice Bath or Hot Shower or Both
Depending on who you talk to, some people swear by ice baths and some by heat. Personally, I think ice baths help recovery if you are going to double that same day. But, heat and hot showers help me feel better the NEXT day. If you can’t take an ice bath, another great way to help with recovery for the following day is to get in a hot shower and alternate the water temperature between hot and cold.
L-Arginine for Stopping Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
L-Arginine is one of the well-known supplements in the bodybuilding world. It is just an amino acid that is said to dilate your arteries to allow improved blood flow to your muscles. It is in many of the protein shakes sold today if you look at the ingredients. It also comes in supplement form such as this one that my husband and I take.
Soft Ground Makes a World of Difference
Whenever you can run on soft ground – it makes a difference! I can run 80% of some of my long runs on soft ground sometimes (dirt, gravel, grass, etc) and I barely feel like I ran anything the next day. But, I could do that same run on pavement or asphalt and I can sometimes feel more tired and beat up. To enhance your running recovery — get off road whenever you can.
This was a fairly new addition to our household but I can confidently say and my husband can attest to this more than I can…they work! If you take the time to use them appropriately – they are worth every penny you spend on them. They are well worth the investment. You can find a good overall review of the Air Relax system we have here.
So, now you have a whole arsenal of recovery tips to choose from. Perhaps use them all if you can. Runners will do some crazy things to keep running and if you are anything like me [or my husband more so] then you are willing to go the extra mile to add just a few things to help improve your running recovery so that you can keep running day in and day out, healthy!