Recovering From A Run Of Any Distance

by | Jun 19, 2021

Coming back from a 10K run may have a different plan than if you’ve just completed a marathon, but you’d be surprised by the similarities, no matter the distance. People often forget that recovery is just as important, if not more important, than warming up.

The rest you take post run, race or virtual challenge and how you refuel and rebuild your body sets you up for your next big win, whether that’s back to training or choosing another challenge or fitness goal.

How exactly you rest and refuel can differ depending on the mileage and intensity you put into your run.

Follow this step-by-step guide to get back on your feet and raring to go—no matter how far or what time it takes:

1. Keep Moving after your run or race

You’ve just got back in from a long run, you’re shattered and it’s so tempting to flop on the couch. As much as you’d love to reward your body by sitting down, it’s important to keep moving, even for a little while.

If you instantly stop, your body builds Lactate Acid, and that will stay in the legs. This will stay in the legs and make you feel stiff and sore, and possibly through to the next day.

Aim for a quick brisk walk around the block or a 5 minute cool down run. If this seems impossible, it’ll be worthwhile for long term injury-free running. It doesn’t matter how slow this run is, as long as you’re getting rid of the Lactic Acid waste from your body.

2. Stretch within a few minutes after you’ve finished

After you’ve shaken out your legs, take time out to ensure you stretch. This is one thing that many people forget to do, as they are on a “runners high”. Stretching may not necessarily ensure you stay injury free or improve your fitness performance but it will certainly help reduce DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness) and help your muscle recovery.

Some examples of stretches are shown below:

Couch Stretch

A. Stand in front of a couch, wall, or box with right foot forward, left foot resting on box. Place a towel directly under back knee for added cushion.

B. Bend right knee to bring back left to the ground, squeezing glutes to stabilize lower back.

Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Standing Calf Stretch

A. Stand in front of a couch, wall, or box with left toes pressed against box. Bring weight forward to feel a stretch in the left calf.

Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

90/90 Stretch

A. Start seated on the floor or a mat with right leg extended forward, left leg extended to the side, knees bent at 90-degree angles. Sit up tall with a neutral spine.

Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

3. Refuel after 30 minutes to an hour

Nutrition is such an important part of your training regime and you should aim to have a carb-protein snack or meal to help you recover after your efforts.

No matter how far you go, hydration is also key since most runners finish a workout in a dehydrated state, If you’re someone who sweats a lot during a run or if you run in super hot and humid weather, consider adding electrolytes to your beverages, like sodium or potassium. This will help you replenish the minerals lost on a sweaty run, which may aid recovery.

While you want to refuel after any distance with carbs, protein, and hydration, it’s especially important if you’ve finished a half or a full marathon. For those who smashed a 5K or 10K, refuelling is still important so you can perform again in the coming days, but it’s less crucial to meet those higher carb and protein counts.

4. Foam Roll

Race Venturers Virtual Challenges Foam Rolling

If you can afford to have a sports massage to aid recovery then this can be a great option but Foam Rolling is good for breaking up those tight areas.

Grab your roller and spend five to 10, even 20 minutes on your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Some research shows that myofascial release (or breaking up tension in the connective tissue known as fascia) from foam rolling can fight post-exercise muscle soreness.

A good 45-60 seconds per muscle group and keep it nice and slow.


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