Whether you’ve just done a 10k, half marathon, marathon or an ultramarathon, here’s how to recover like a boss.
After a long run, whether its 10k, 26 miles or 50k, your body will be crying out for some proper rest and recovery. The least you can do is comply and give the body what it wants and follow these steps to aid in your recovery.
Get off your feet
As soon as the race is over, try and elevate your legs if possible. Try and find a tree or wall that you can rest your legs against for a short while. This will help to reduce the fluid build up in your legs. It also means that when you put your legs down, you’ll encourage a healthy blood flow to your muscles. This is especially important if you are prone to injuries from running.
Stretching tired and sore muscles after a long run is essential as it reduces muscle tension and helps to alleviate lactic acid and encourage blood flow. Stretching can also help to increase flexibility and most importantly, prevent injuries. If you leave your muscles and tendons all tight after your run, you are more likely to have longer-lasting damage to the muscles.
After a long run, no matter the distance, you body will have used up almost all (if not all) of its energy supplies so it’s very important to refuel. You should get right back on the food as soon as you can to get your carb intake back up to normal. This will help you to get some energy back, to start the recovery process effectively.
Water is the most important thing to get in. Hydration plays a very important role in recovery so make sure you knock back plenty of water over the course of the day.
Relaxation and Sleep
Make sure you get plenty of rest as soon as the race is over. You’ve put your body through a lot and it will need time to recover. Being too active too soon after the run will merely hinder your recovery process so keep it chilled for a few days.
Sleep is very important for recovery. Your muscles will repair the most when you are asleep so make sure you give them as much time to repair as you can.
After you feel well rested, try and do some gentle exercise to ease your body back into its old routine. A steady 20 minute walk will do wonders for getting you back into the swing of things and letting your legs recover without putting your body under too much strain. After a few walks, and if you’re feeling up for it, go for a gentle jog to really put the legs back to where they were.
As mentioned by Georgie Okell in her marathon recovery tips for Hip and Healthy, swimming is also a great way to recover. Swimming takes all of the weight out of your legs and arms and lets you just relax without feeling the strain of your muscles. Further to this, exercising in water is low impact and therefore great for your joints and your overall recovery.