As we like to say, for running development, what you do after a run can be just as important as what you do during it. That goes for what you do and don’t do to recover after a workout or run! Post-run recovery can be tricky. Not only do you need to determine what you need to do for optimal recovery, you also have to consider time constraints and what you’ll be able to keep up consistently. It does you no good to do a post-run recovery routine only occasionally.
Charge Running coaches are all about athletes staying healthy, injury-free, and continuing to see great running development. With the insights of all of our experienced, professional coaches, we came up with six tried-and-true post-run recovery tips. They’re straightforward, easy to maintain consistently, and most importantly, they work!
6 Tips for Post-Run Recovery
1. The perfect snack
Be sure to have a healthy, filling, and consistent snack ready to go for your post-run recovery. Focus primarily on protein for muscle rebuilding, complex carbohydrates, and the proper caloric intake (200-300 calories within 45 minutes). Finding your “go-to” snack for post-run recovery is important for creating those healthy habits. Choose something delicious, nutritious, and most of all, quick and easy to put together. Something that travels well is a bonus. Personal Charge Running Coach selections include: peanut butter & jelly sandwich, overnight oatmeal, 16oz of chocolate mile and a granola bar, apple/banana and peanut butter.
2. Work from the top down
When going through your post-run recovery routine of stretching, rolling, etc. be sure to work from the top of your body down. By organizing your recovery approach in a straightforward, step-by-step way, you’ll be sure to take care of your entire body without missing anything. Work your neck, shoulders/arms, back, and abdomen first. Then work your way down to taking care of your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Finally, be sure to take care of your calves and ankles. Another helpful approach is to start with your standing stretches and work your way down to the floor.
3. Stretch, strengthen, mobilize
In order to fully optimize your post-run recovery, be sure to engage a variety of movement types. Instead of JUST stretching, add in some bodyweight strength movements and some mobility drills. These can be as simple as bodyweight squats and lunges and hip flexor mobility with exercise bands. If you’ve already set aside time after your run or workout to focus on stretching, you may as well add in additional strength and mobility work! All of these movements will not only aid recovery, but will also help prevent future injuries over time.
4. Set aside the time
Don’t rush through your post-run recovery! Be sure to set aside the proper time after your run or workout to be sure you do it right. Busy, hectic, constantly-varying schedules are unfortunately a part of life. However, committing even just 15-20 minutes after your run to fully focus and engage in post-run recovery can make all the difference. Plan this time into your workout schedule. If you’re running for 30 minutes, block off 45-50 minutes total in your day to be sure you’re not rushed.
5. Have the right equipment at hand
Having the proper equipment or tools for your post-run recovery routine is key. Be sure to have the basics. You’ll want a firm foam roller, a set of exercise/resistance bands, a yoga mat of some sort, and some type of hard ball (a lacrosse ball or baseball will do). With just these four pieces of “equipment” you can do a lot! Every item should be easy to access, and ideally visible from wherever you typically return to after your run or workout. Having them within eyesight will provide a constant reminder and cue to actually complete your post-run recovery routine. As soon as you hide them away in the back of a closet, you’ll never see them again!
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
This one is simple, and nothing you don’t already know. That doesn’t mean however that it’s not worth repeating. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! From the moment you end your run or workout throughout the entirety of your post-run recovery routine and beyond, have hydration nearby and keep drinking! Having your go-to hydration cups (personally I use massive 24oz colored glasses) will keep you on top of your re-hydration immediately. If you take too long to start rehydrating, not only will your body suffer, but you may not be able to get back on track when the remainder of your day sets into high gear. Start early with the hydration, keep your preferred liquid (water, electrolyte drink, etc.) on hand, and keep it flowing!
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