Although race season isn’t exactly thriving at the moment, people are still training for virtual races and personal projects! Runners are still stacking up some serious mileage which means that recovery is paramount. Yes guys, recovery is part of the training plan too, don’t you know.
Some runners do not see the recovery process as important as the other sessions on the training plan, but recovery is KEY when training for big events. Whether they are virtual or not!
Here are my top 5 top tips on recovery. Although it may seem obvious, it is always good to have something to refer back to, just in case!
As most of us know, when we exercise, we sweat A LOT. This is our body’s way of keeping cool, like our very own personal air-conditioning system. If we have done a long or hard session then we will need to hydrate ourselves accordingly. Even in colder weathers, we have to remember that it is important to keep on top of this as it is easy to forget. In warmer weather, we have those cues but when the temperature drops, the need for water may not seem as strong. Even though you will probably need less, it is worth keeping check of this.
Whilst you are guzzling your water, make sure that you keep your salt levels topped up too. If we are working hard and sweating, we will naturally lose salt in our sweat. Some of us will need more than others, so monitor this and include salt in your post-run foods! I tend to use Precision Hydration when I am in training.
There is a debate as to whether stretching is important post-workout but I would say, if it doesn’t harm you, then go ahead and DO IT! They say static stretching (holding a specific muscle for 15-30 seconds) will allow muscles and connective tissues to relax. It will also improve your muscles flexibility and elasticity, which will increase range of motion. Being able to perform at your best in the long run!
There are many ways to stretch, and this includes using others to help you into position (but be mindful, that this could be potentially risky) This type of stretching is called PNF stretching, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and will sometimes help you to delve deeper into the stretch. However, yoga can also be good for this too.
Once you have finished your workout, you may or may not feel hungry due to adrenaline. However, it is always best to eat something within 90 minutes of exercising as this is when it is the most beneficial. I tend to always carry an oat/protein bar around with me EVERYWHERE I go because I don’t like to feel hungry, however it won’t be the end of the world if you can not grab something in time… Just try to make it a priority so you can really appreciate those gainzzzz. Ready for another day!
When our body is at rest, the magic tends to happen here. If our body is too fatigued, it will not perform at its best. Getting the right amount of shut eye or relaxation into your week will eventually hinder your training. You will not fully benefit from the workouts performed if the body is in fatigue, because your it will, naturally, be in a state of stress. We need to be fully rested for each session so that we can give 100% efforts!
If you have ever tracked your heart rate, you will notice when your body is at stress (and not the good kind!) Or when your body is tired, as it will not be as efficient, so it is always best to have a rest day or two on the plan. As well as getting enough sleep each and every night!
Back in the day, you finished your run and that was that! Where as now, there are a range of recovery products on the market that can help make the process much more pleasurable. Unless you opt for the first option (below), that is pain/pleasure all rolled into one!
Sports massages are the way forward, but they can be pretty pricey. If you don’t have the monies to go as frequently as you’d like, then you can get a ‘at home version’. Foam rollers are the most popular amongst runners as they’re the cheaper option. You can get them for as little as £10 and they range in different shapes and sizes. I would recommend starting with a smoother roller before heading towards the chunky, bulky ones. The latter is a little more intense and for those with a little more experience.
The self massage gun’s are a bit more on the pricey side, for example, Pulse roll. These are mechanical pieces of equipment that will mimic a massage without the effort of rolling on a foam roller. Apparently worth the money so if you can, get yourself one of these!
There is nothing I love more than having a bath after a long run. Once you have stretched and cooled down, you will be craving for some warmth. So run that hot bath with some extra bubbles and get yourself in! What I find helps with my tight and achey muscles, is pouring in some Westlab Salts (promo code – EMAJOYC30) and a long soak in the bath. Magnesium salts are great for muscle recovery and general wellbeing. Get yourself a bag and let me know what you think!
FlexiQule Oil Rub.
There are many lotions and potions on the market, but if you are particular about the brands that you choose, FlexiQule may be the product for you! This oil is free from nasty chemicals and only made from natural resources. This item in particular is for joints and achy muscles. Once applied and massaged into the skin, it should take affect. Naturally, it could prevent further breakdown of the cartilage in your joints, which is ever so important for all ages but most importantly for runners or high-risk groups. This does include the elderly and the injured, so it is worth looking into for when things start to creak a little each day!
FlexiQule is anti-inflammatory because of its ingredients, so get yourself some oil rub if you’re starting to feel the effects of training. I was luckily gifted a bottle and have been using it on my injured foot and on my sore, achy muscles post-workout. Let me know if you give it a try!
The ingredients are as follows: Boswellia Serrata, zingiber officinale, Piper nigrum (which has been used in African medicine for centuries) and lavender (0,30%).
So what products do you use in training? What are your go-to recovery tips? Let me know in the comments below!