Post Run Recovery
One of the year’s major marathon events has passed for another year. The London Marathon was held last Sunday (24/04/2016) and this week, every participant will be feeling each and every step of the hellacious 26 miles as they attempt to walk again. Naturally, they will all feel great immediately after their run as they’re still on a natural high with copious amounts of endorphins being pumped around their bodies. However, it’s when they wake up they’ll spend every day this week walking like a character out of Thunderbirds. In this article, we look at how to best prevent this and suggest how to walk like you’re not a puppet after any long distance run.
Any runner will tell you that taking the right steps (pun intended) after a run is crucial to recovery. To prevent that urge of wanting to saw your own legs off to stop the pain can be accomplished by taking small steps after every run which will assist the body to recover.
You can be sure that you will always see people stretching after every workout and this especially applies to running as well. Long distance running means that you’re using every muscle in your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms for a long periods of time. It’s important not to stretch cold muscles. By stretching before a run you’re pulling and stretching muscles that aren’t supple or don’t have very much blood flowing to them. It’s far better to stretch after a run to alleviate any soreness that may have occurred on your run.
Remember to target every muscle when stretching after your run and aim to stretch them for 15-20 seconds to leave them limber and to give them less chance of knotting up when cooling down. Read this guide from Runners World on comprehensive stretches that target every muscle used when running http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/staying-healthy/the-rw-complete-guide-to-stretching-for-runners/484.html
The concept of foam rolling has become huge in recent years. It’s the idea of giving yourself a full body massage but without the help of a masseuse. Foam rollers can massage all of the muscles in your legs, back, shoulders and arms that will be feeling sore after any extended period of running. By foam rolling after a long run you reduce the risk of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This is when muscle tissues inflame after long periods of exercise which causes the feeling of soreness and discomfort days after a run. Foam rolling key muscle areas reduces this.
We have an extensive guide on everything you need to know about foam rolling here where you can view a variety of moves you can use with your Foam Yoga Roller to help boost recovery after a long distance run.
General yoga moves and using a yoga ball to stretch the back and legs is also a great recovery technique.
Eating is essential to helping muscles recover after a long run. Your body craves the nutrients and carbohydrates that it’s lost over a long period of expelling energy. Now I’m not saying it’s a good idea to go on a carb over load and eat a whole loaf of bread, but it is important to eat a balanced amount of carbs and protein to assist with muscle recovery and repair.
After a hard session of running, it’s ideal to try and eat 30 minutes afterwards as your body needs the nutrients to start the growth and repair process. Eating might seem counter productive when trying to lose weight, but trust me, it’s important.
It may seem pretty simple, but it’s incredible to see the amount of people who don’t drink enough during the day let alone after or during a run. If you think about how much fluids you lose through sweat when running and indeed after you’ve finished your run, then you’ll see why it’s important to keep hydrated. If you haven’t got access to fluids during your run, then it’s important that you have a small water bottle with you to keep topping up as you run. It’ll feed your muscles that are constantly working and more importantly will stop you passing out or feeling ill due to dehydration.
Muscle temperature is an important thing to consider after your run. It’s imperative to keep them warm so you don’t put yourself at risk of any muscles tear of damage. A proper cool down is important as it sets the muscles up for recovery. Keeping muscles warm helps blood flow to them which helps with recovery. By keeping them warm then you’re helping them return to their resting temperature.
If muscles are already sore, then the best thing is to ice them. Icing staves off inflammation and the area that is sore is free to keep moving. A lot of athletes swear by ice baths for this reason. Now while you won’t have to torture yourself and sit in a bath of ice to get these results, you can just slap an ice pack on a muscle that’s tender.
Another important factor when looking at recovery is sleep. The body needs adequate amounts of rest so that the muscles can recover effectively. At least 8 hours sleep is needed by the average person. By not getting enough sleep, then you’re cheating your body out of vital time that it needs to replenish energy and recover the muscles that are tired and strained from over exertion.
No Pill Popping!
There’s a lot of debate around this. There’s arguments to taking paracetamol and ibuprofen after (or even during) a long distance run. You can be sure that they will reduce pain, swelling and any muscle inflammation. However, this is a risky strategy because you’re killing pain to muscles that need to be rested and run the risk of seriously injuring them. I’m not saying to never take them. If you are in genuine pain or feel like you’ve pulled a muscle and need instant pain relief then by all means take them. But if you’re just feeling a bit sore then suck the pain up and try the other techniques to reduce those DOMS.
Follow these key tips and you’ll be moving less like the residents of Tracey Island. It’s important to remember that recovery is not always the same for everyone and people will have different rates of recovery.
To purchase a JLL Foam Yoga Roller or JLL Yoga Ball then visit www.jllfitness.co.uk/yoga to view our great range. Alternatively, they can be purchased from our eBay and Amazon shops.