In this final article of the series I’m focusing on 7 things you should consider to speed up your recovery after running.
1. Stretch & cool down after every run
You enjoy your running and you want to keep it up right?
After every run your muscles will get sore and your hamstrings, glutes & calves will start to tighten.
Also, modern life (being sat in the car, on the sofa, at the desk) is working against you having a supple, flexible, run-ready body.
Get into the habit of completing a 5-10 minute post-run stretch routine.
See it as the final part of today’s run or, as I try to, think of it as the first part of prep for your next run.
The Runners World ‘Complete Guide to Stretching’ is a great place to start.
2. Reward yourself with rest & recovery
You’ve worked hard on your run, warmed down correctly and feel great.
Now’s the time to reward yourself and give your body & mind the 24-48 hours rest it needs to recover, repair and refresh ready for your next run.
Once again, Runners World has complied a great resource for learning more about post-run Rest & Recovery that’s well worth a look.
3. Consider how you can cross train to improve your running
Including another type of workout can really help your running.
Swim, cycle, do a yoga class or a body-weight routine. Each of these activities can help:
- Improve your cardio
- Build strength and flexibility in the muscles your running doesn’t activate
- Reduce your risk of injury
- Aid your recovery and…
- Ensure you remain fresh for your next run
The RunKeeper blog had a great in-depth article on this earlier this month that you can read here.
4. Don’t be a martyr– listen to your body
You weren’t born on Krypton, you’re not indestructible – you will get injuries no matter how well you look after yourself.
Something one of my favourite bloggers, ‘Lazy Girl Running’ talks about in her article ‘Running injuries: avoiding them & fixing them’.
How you respond mentally can be the difference between whether you go a week or 3 months without a run.
Ignore the symptoms and you make yourself more likely to suffer the knock-on injuries that come as your body tries to deal with the extra stress you’re putting on it.
Instead, accept that injuries happen and that it’s inevitable you’re going to lose a few runs/weeks every year.
Treat the injury seriously, seek advice, take the appropriate steps and time to recover and you’ll be back pounding the pavements or treadmill before you know it.
5. What you eat just got important
If you’re serious about improving and enjoying your running you’ll need to start treating your body like a high performance machine.
Don’t eat enough or eat the wrong things and you’ll be coughing and spluttering on the side of the road before you’ve got half-way.
But, put enough of the right fuel in and you’ll go far.
Let’s Get Running did a nice article on ‘Fuelling Your Training’ in August 2016.
Although I do also like this rather tongue-in-cheek infographic from Runners World!
6. Running can become a lifestyle and an attitude – ‘I am a runner’
You may well come to running simply as it offers the most convenient way for you to spend 3 hours exercising every week.
But, stick with it and it may well end up becoming one of the ways you define yourself.
I love this poem that I found via the ‘Run Now, Run Long’ website. The blog’s author, Ray, credits a Mike Edenfield with writing it.
7. Run alone if you want, but don’t ever think you’re on your own
For you, one of the attractions of running may well be the chance to get an hour on your own to relax, take stock or clear your head.
Remember that if you do ever want to connect with other runners to ask questions, get advice or just feed off their motivation you have loads of options.
You will have local running clubs who can provide education, coaches to give you variety in your workouts and a great social scene.
Head to social media and there are many vibrant, welcoming communities that can provide inspiration, advice and camaraderie. These are some of my favourites that you may like to follow:
I hope you found this 3 part series worth reading and even found one or two that you’ll take on and consider as part of your running plan.
If you feel others would benefit from this article then please do share it and it would be great to hear your favourite lessons so please comment below or connect with me on social media.
Thanks and see you out on the road, Chris