There’s always a need for recovery in our training as runners. Any good coach will tell you that training hard every day is NOT training smart. It’s important to factor lighter, recovery days into your running schedule. Also be sure that you're taking steps post-workout to promote muscle recovery. Every post-run step can help with your muscle soreness and recovery even after the hardest of workouts!
Following these quick and easy post-run muscle recovery steps can make all the difference over time as your training and performances continue to progress!
7 Tips for Muscle Recovery!
1. Nutritional Muscle Recovery
Long-term muscle recovery after a run or workout starts with refueling. Proper post-workout nutrition is essential to making sure that your body recovers. Your muscles and tissues will repair, and you'll get stronger in the process. Aiming for around 300 calories consumed within 45-60 minutes of completing your workout is best. Focus on high-quality proteins and carbohydrates in your refueling choices!
Hydration is so important for running, but you all know that already. What’s important though is that even when you don’t feel sweaty or thirsty after a run, hydration is still imperative. When it comes to muscle recovery, hydrating supports every bit of metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body. Want your refueling and post-workout recovery exercises to actually work? Make sure to hydrate after your run!
3. Rest & Sleep
Your muscles require rest to recover. This doesn’t mean you need to immediately lay down and never get back up after a run or workout. It does however mean that you need to prioritize your rest in between runs and especially in between harder workouts. This starts with your training schedule. Be sure to alternate higher and lower intensity workout days. Keep the rest of your post-workout day light in terms of physical exertion.
Get enough sleep! During sleep your body produces Growth Hormone which is essential for the repair and growth of tissue. Even an additional 60 minutes of sleep on nights following a harder run or workout can make all the difference.
4. Crosstrain/Active Recovery
Low or no-impact, light aerobic activities after your workout can help promote muscle recovery. Head out for a brisk walk later in the day. Or take in an easy bike ride. These activities can make all the difference. These gentle, easy movements for 20-30 minutes can help improve blood circulation. Increased circulation can ultimately improve your nutrient transport and promote waste product transport throughout your body. All of this will aid in your recovery from one day to the next.
5. Myofascial Muscle Recovery
Myofascial recovery, or soft tissue therapy, can really be done either before or after a workout. The process will help improve muscle recovery each and every day after your workout. Myosacial recovery includes foam rolling, stick rolling, and massage. Using a variety of post-run recovery tools you can help decrease the onset of muscle soreness and promote full muscle recovery easily (although sometimes a bit painfully).
6. Static Stretching
This one is simple and straightforward. After your run or workout be sure to stretch. Your muscles are warm still and for the purpose of muscle recovery taking advantage of this warmth for stretching is important. Increase your strength, flexibility, and mobility while aiding in your muscle recovery during 10-15 minutes of stretching.
7. Ice/Cool Water Treatment
Hard runs or workouts can produce microdamage or microscopic tears in your muscles. Don’t worry, ultimately these will repair themselves leaving your muscles longer and therefore stronger. However, in the immediate this can produce soreness, swelling, and inflammation. In order to combat this you can exposure your muscles to icing or cool water treatment. When done for no more than 10-15 minutes at a time this will help decrease soreness and aid in the muscle recovery process.
Ultimately listening to your body and practicing holistic wellness will aid you in your recovery process each and every day. Focus on physical, mental, and emotional health and recovery after every run or workout!
For more tips on training, recovery, and overall wellness, join Charge Running! You'll get access to live real-time coaching from professional, certified trainers!