Post-Run Recovery Tips
Are you planning on running a marathon, half marathon, participating in a charity run or just running for fun? How about dreading the post-exercise soreness and fatigue? When you push your body to perform an intense exercise or exercise it may be unaccustomed to, it is beneficial to know what to do to assist recovery after the event.
Here are six tips to assist you in recovering after a running event.
1. Post-Run Nutrition
After exercise, it is paramount you replenish the energy stores (glycogen/carbohydrates, electrolytes and protein) and fluid stores you lost during activity. This nutrition will help the body recover from intense exercise and assist your immune system damaged by the practice.
When glycogen synthesis is highest within the first-hour post-exercise, consume a carbohydrate-rich snack/meal that provides 1-1.2g of carbohydrate per 1kg of body weight.
Intense exercise causes a breakdown in muscle tissue. Protein helps restore tissue and assist muscle adaptation. Essential amino acids from high-quality protein-rich foods in the hour post-exercise promote protein rebuilding. Commonly 10-20g of protein in the first-hour post-exercise is recommended.
It is essential to replace the fluid lost during exercise. Electrolytes, particularly sodium, lost through sweat are required. Sodium helps to increase your fluid balance post-exercise by reducing urine loss. To check, please weigh yourself before and after your race. A guideline to fluid replacement is 1L for every 1kg lost during the event.
More info: Sports Dietitian
2. Cool Down Exercise
Low-intensity exercise can help remove lactic acid build-up and promote blood flow to relieve tight and sore muscles. This exercise can be performed as a light jog or walk after your event or the day following. This cool down exercise can be followed by a brief 5 to 15-min period of stretching to assist with tight muscles.
3. Soft Tissue Recovery
Ways to assist soft tissue recovery at home include foam rolling and wearing compression garments. Foam rolling on your back, ITB, hamstrings, quads and calves dramatically helps your soft tissue recovery. Spend 2x 1-minute intervals in each area. You may wear compression garments for 24-hrs post-exercise. Both techniques can assist in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness and may enhance recovery of muscle performance.
More info: Foam Rollers
4. Recovery Massage
A post-run recovery massage can reduce excessive post-exercise muscle tone and increase muscle range of motion. Massage also improves circulation and nutrition to damaged tissue, deactivate symptomatic trigger point, reduced post-exercise soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Soft tissue therapy has also been said to aid in psychological recovery alongside music, warm baths and showers to enhance muscle relaxation and allow healing.
More info: Recovery Massage
There is often debate whether ice baths (cold water immersion) is beneficial after exercise. In regards to running, ice helps to decrease inflammation resulting from intense activity. Ice can help to reduce post-activity muscle soreness.
The day after intense activity, you can use heat to help relax tight muscles. Heat also promotes blood flow to an area, promoting the recovery of lactic acid build-up.
More info: Ice therapy
A good night’s sleep consisting of around 8 hours is essential for muscle recovery, among other biological functions. As mentioned above, compression garments can be worn to bed to further assist with healing. You can achieve a good night’s sleep by ensuring the room is cool, dark and quiet and free of electronic distractions. Ideally, one should have a well-developed sleep routine that consists of the strategies mentioned earlier and avoids caffeine and excessive fluid intake before bed.