If you’re looking for a popular and exciting method of exercising and getting fit and healthy, then look no further than running.
Running is an extremely enjoyable and rewarding pastime that can be performed virtually anywhere outdoors, in all kinds of environments. Some people choose to go for a light and brisk jog around the block a couple of times a week, whereas others run several miles virtually every single night.
Whether you’re into your endurance runs, trail running, obstacle races, marathons, or even just cardio on a treadmill, it’s important to understand the importance of running safely and recovering after races and training sessions.
Today we’re going to be looking at running recovery and will be providing several useful tips based upon recovering after a strenuous run, before looking at some of the different running recovery footwear options for you to try. If you’re getting into running and want to learn more about what it takes to recover after a workout, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Take a look, and you’ll see what we mean.
To kick things off, we’re first going to share some tried and tested running tips with you, before we move on to place more of our focus and attention on running recovery, and running recovery footwear. If you want to get more from your runs, be sure to follow the following tips and advice.
Choose the right footwear
We’re talking about running recovery footwear primarily in this article, but before we can look at that, we first need to talk about the importance of the right footwear whilst running. If you want to run safely, effectively, and as comfortably as possible, you need to invest in some good quality running shoes.
Running shoes are designed to support your feet, absorb the shock of each step, protect your joints, and leave you feeling as comfortable as possible when running. When buying running shoes, invest in good quality shoes from trusted manufacturers. Always be sure to try the shoes on before you buy, just to make sure that they’re as comfortable as the advertisement and labelling would have you believe.
Stretch and warm up
Always, always, always, without fail, spend at least 10 minutes before running stretching and warming up.
Warming up will help to increase your core body temperature and get your blood circulating.
Stretching your muscles will increase the elasticity of your muscle fibres, meaning that a pulled or torn muscle when running will be less likely.
If you fail to stretch and warm up, you can almost certainly guarantee that you will sustain some form of injury when running. If you’re lucky, it could be a pulled hamstring.
More seriously could be a torn muscle, which would require surgery.
For the sake of 10 minutes, it’s not worth the risk so always be sure to stretch your muscles and warm up before running.
Allow time to rest
Running can be addictive. Runner’s highs, as they are known, feel great and they do result in us craving them again and again.
A lot of keen runners out there will often run 6, even 7 times per week, which is simply far too much. When you’re running every day, you aren’t giving your body a break or enough time to recover.
This is taxing on your joints, your brain, your muscles, and your central nervous system. No matter how much you may hate “rest days” the truth of the matter is that time off from running can be equally as important as time on with running. Allow yourself at least 2 full days of recovery each week, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.
Listen to your body
Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise which makes it very beneficial for our health. Running helps us to burn fat, it strengthens the heart, and it reduces your risk of cardiovascular issues later on in life. As beneficial as running is, it is still viewed by the body as a stressor and is therefore physically and mentally taxing.
If you find yourself constantly feeling sore, stiff, tired, or aching, this could be your body’s way of telling you that it needs a break. If you constantly find that there is just one part of your anatomy which is always sore and tender, this could be a warning that you’re at risk of injuring it. Put simply, listen to your body and don’t force yourself to run if you’re feeling beat up.
Ease your way in after a break
If you took the advice listed above and gave yourself some time off from running, you may have been chomping at the bit to get back out there and start covering some miles again.
As frustrating as it is, after a break from running you will need to remember to take the time to ease yourself back in, rather than trying to do too much at once.
Slow down the pace and tempo slightly and don’t try covering the same distances you were covering before your break. If you try to do too much at once, this will come as a shock to the system and you may find yourself struggling with injuries.
Get enough protein
Protein isn’t just essential for bodybuilders, it’s just as important for runners.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, which is why we need to ensure we get enough into our bodies.
When you run, the reason why your muscles are sore and aching after a run is because you have literally broken down the muscle tissues and fibres and have damaged them.
When running, protein is used as energy once your glycogen stores have been used up.
If protein isn’t available your body will tap into your muscle reserves instead, so you’ll literally be fuelling your runs by burning off your lean muscle tissue.
Protein will prevent muscle catabolism and will assist with recovery after a tough session.
Drink enough fluid
Hydration is absolutely crucial when it comes to running. When we run, we perspire, or sweat, as it is commonly known.
We lose fluids and electrolytes through our sweat, which could cause muscle cramping and dehydration.
Not only that, but we need fluids and electrolytes for countless other natural physiological processes too.
If you don’t drink enough water you’ll quickly become dehydrated when running, which will make you susceptible to injury, it’ll cause muscle fatigue and cramping, and it’ll affect your performance. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
Running recovery tips
Now that you know a little more about what it takes to be a good runner, we need to talk to you about how to recover after your runs.
Running is an incredibly taxing and physically demanding activity. Despite being beneficial for our health and well-being, it can also be detrimental to us if we fail to recover adequately afterwards. Here are several running recovery tips to help get you back to 100% after a run as quickly as possible.
If you thought it was important to be hydrated before a during a run, that’s nothing compared with how important it is to rehydrate after a run.
You see, when you run you sweat, and as we mentioned earlier, when you sweat you lose fluids and electrolytes.
After a run you’ll have lost heaps of fluids and you will be at risk of dehydration. This will again cause muscle cramping, fatigue, stiffness, and a headache, to name but a few.
Replacing lost fluids as soon after a run as possible is absolutely essential, so be sure to drink up. For best results, combine a few electrolytes with your water to speed up the recovery process.
Get some food in you
Have you ever noticed how, once your adrenaline has worn off and your heart rate has died down after exercise, you find yourself feeling incredibly hungry? If so, there’s a reason for that.
We spoke earlier about the importance of listening to your body, and this is yet another prime example of what we meant. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that it needs food.
We need food to replace the energy and macronutrients and micronutrients we lost and burnt off during our run. For best results, keep meals simple and aim for a complex carbohydrate source, a source of protein, some veggies, and some healthy fats. For example, something along the lines of: baked potato, baked salmon, and spinach.
Yep, not only is it important to stretch before a run, it is equally as important to stretch after a run. This will help you to cool down after a run and it will help you to break down tight knots and muscle fibres. Foam rolling is also very beneficial after a run as this too will help to break up knots in your muscles.
Get enough sleep
One of most important elements of any recovery process is sleep. When our muscles repair themselves, this process takes place primarily when we sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are thereby significantly reducing the amount of time that your body has to repair itself after a long and strenuous run.