Recovery Tips for Newbies: How to Recover Properly in RUNNING


Recovery always plays a significant role in training and post workout activities. To emphasize its importance, let us compare your body to a smartphone. After keeping all its daily functions active and working for a long time, it will need to replenish its battery. Initializing various applications or heavily browsing the internet while your phone is charging will hamper the increase of its battery life, forcing it to have a longer time to recharge.

Like smartphones, runners like us also need to take a time-off after participating in a race. For example, if you just finished a Half-Marathon recently, your body would need a couple of days (or weeks) to fully recuperate before you can resume training and run at that level of intensity again. It’s a common belief that the distance you covered is parallel to the time period needed by your body to recover. Being involved in strenuous activities after an intense workout is a winning ticket for mild and major running-related injuries.  

To reach optimal recovery point and hit back on the road as soon as possible, here are some of the tips that you may do to ensure that your body recovers properly.      

1.) Cool down: Get slower

“Cooling down” after a workout enables your fired-up muscles return back to their normal function. Dial in at least 10 minutes of easy jogs or walking after your workout to begin the cool down process. Having light stretching or yoga activities help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce lower body pains. This post workout phase also gives us the time to check and assess the current condition our body or muscles after running.    


2.) Cold Therapy: You need to chill, Bro!

Runners may take immediate actions to reduce muscle swelling or pain by using ice packs or cold compressors, ice baths, or cyrotherapy chambers. The cold temperature causes your blood vessels to constrict or tighten. This helps your muscles to recover faster by removing the workout wastes or lactic acids.
3.) Recovery Meals: Eat your way out

Science will tell you that your muscles are made of protein. Eating meals rich in protein aids our muscles to recover faster because the amino acids found in protein provide the raw materials needed for muscle repair. Combining the consumption of food with healthy fats such omega-3 and monounsaturated fats (avocado, tuna, salmon, nuts, olive oil, etc,) and carbohydrates (bananas, brown rice, low fat yogurt, whole grain bread, etc) will support your body to become healthy and stronger during your recovery period. Don’t forget to hydrate as well!


4.) Have a massage: It can also be D.I.Y.

Aside from the fact that having a massage feels good, it is used to speed recovery. It helps relive body tension, reduce muscle soreness, enhance blood flow, remove muscle toxins, aid in preventing a potential injury, promotes better sleep, and many more. Some runners prefer utilizing different sized Foam Rollers to massage areas such as legs, ankles, shins, and calfs.


5.) Compression Items: They were meant for this

Compression gears don’t just improve performance during races, but it also expedites recovery. Compression wear was initially developed as a treatment for swelling disorders like lymphedema, where limbs swell up like balloons because the body’s lymph drains don’t work properly( via runnersconnect.net). Some experts claim that wearing compression clothing after a workout treats muscle fatigue and swelling and assists our body’s blood flow, especially in your legs and thighs if you like wearing knee length compression socks or tights.


6.) Active training: Keep moving those muscles!

Being active while recovering can be beneficial to the body as well. Cross training during your recovery period prevents your muscles and joints from stiffening, increases your blood circulation, and lessens fatigue and soreness without having the physical impacts of running. You may go for cycling, swimming, yoga, lifting, or even walking. Just always remind yourself NOT to overdo it.


7.) Having Downtimes: You need a refresher

 Non-running related activities can also help your body to resist high readings of Cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, if it becomes too much, can prolong or affect physical recovery. Doing things that you naturally enjoy boosts our psychological state which also plays a pivotal role in any kind of recovery.


8.) Sleep: We all need those ZzZzZzs

According to Trent Stellingwerff, the research and physiology leader at the Canadian Sport Institute, 90 to 95 percent of all recovery can be achieved by proper sleep and nutrition. Aside from maintaining a healthy diet, having 8 or more hours of sleep enables our body to repair damaged muscles and tissues, replenish energy, and improve performance for the next day. 

10 TIPS for Newbie Runners: What they should know about RUNNING

A lot of folks nowadays are looking for different ways to become healthy and fit. Some engage in a healthy diet, work their bodies in a gym, or engage in various sports. In my case, I decided to try the running sport many years ago.
The running community has grown exponentially since the sport became commercially popular here in the Philippines (considering the fact that this country is a nation of basketball and boxing fans).  At present, numerous races are being advertised almost everywhere. Runners flock registration sites. Thousands of people began competing in races and pursued active lifestyles.
As time passes by, we often meet people who still wonder whether they can engage in such sport or not. I have a friend who became interested in running after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. To remediate and improve his current health condition, he wanted to try running. He did have reservations at first (he told me that he wasn’t fast or he can’t run far like I do. Most beginners have this kind of dialogue.) but I was eager to help him become more active and feel better.  He needs to be converted properly first. 

Here are the tips I gave him as he began his “career” as a runner.

1.) You need to open your schedule a bit.
Being healthy and fit require investment. In a world of busy men and unending loads of paperwork, TIME is the most important investment you can ever give to yourself. If your work usually ends by 5:00 p.m., you may “run-walk” for 30 minutes to one hour as a part of your pre-training regimen. In case your work begins at 9:00 in the morning, you may wake a few hours early and do the same activity. Your body will soon adapt to the new routine until it becomes a part of your regular “schedule”. Being consistent is the key in becoming a successful athlete or a healthy individual. Stop finding time. Make time for it.
2.) Pick the RIGHT shoes.
Your feet are your greatest asset in this sport, so you better get the right shoes to support it. Choosing and purchasing the wrong pair can definitely turn things in the opposite direction.  Running with the wrong shoes can cause discomfort, injuries, and a lot of bad memories. Visit the nearest running stores (RUNNR, TOBYs, Second Wind, etc) and seek assistance in picking the right running shoes for you. Learn more about your pronation and select the most appropriate pair based on your preferences and budget.
3.) Don’t jump categories.
Every runner must be patient with himself/herself. Nobody becomes an expert overnight. A lot of runners tend to jump categories because they overestimate their capacity and underestimate the distance they will run. Remember, you need sufficient preparation as you increase your mileage.   You risk having injuries by trying to complete a Half-Marathon when you can’t even complete a 5 KM distance. Your body deserves more than a mere Finisher’s medal.
4.) Read and learn about how to improve in the sport.
If you want to be more than just the average runner and move on to the higher distance categories, you need to learn about the sport as much as you can. Running becomes more fun when you see yourself continuously improve and beating the challenges of training.  Knowing the basic terminologies, common practices, the simple Do’s and Don’ts, or the modern training programs will definitely be useful for your growth as a runner. Like what a famous coach said, you can’t afford to be stupid at any given sport.     
5.) You have to eat RIGHT.
The word “right” means that you have to try your best to lessen the intake of the needless food consumed by your body. Junk food is called “junk” for reason. Proper fueling helps our body to reach optimal performance during an actual race. You need to search better food alternatives that will give your body the proper amount of nutrition it needs before and after running. 
6.) Select your route.
Safety should be your top priority when training outside. Find a route that is considered safe and far from traffic as much as possible. The place should be well-lighted and accessible for other people in case you prefer running at night.  If you are familiar with the place, try to be creative in making your routes. Running the same route repeatedly can be boring and less motivating.
7.) Rest is important too.
You don’t have to run every day. Runners also need adequate rest to help their body recover after a tiring run. Our body functions better that way. Being deprived of sleep can jeopardize your goals or performance for the following day, whether it is about running or the regular activities you do.
8.) Try finding a coach.
There is a significant difference between self-trained runners and professionally trained ones when it comes to performance. Novice runners who underwent professional supervision perform better than those who didn’t.  Although having a coach is not required, being trained and advised by a professional will help you efficiently reach your personal goals.    
9.) Pick your races.
Plan your training ahead. Choose your runs. Coming to a race unprepared is an ill-advised practice. Don’t join a race if you think you won’t have the time to prepare for it. If you already started joining longer distances, your body needs adequate time to recover and train for the next race. Avoid “crashing and burning” yourself. Running beyond your normal capacity can be taxing for the body. Making a calendar of races will help you organize your training and race schedules better.
10.) Enjoy.

Your personal satisfaction when it comes to this sport matters most. Take your time as you discover something more about yourself. Running is not entirely about being fast. It’s about how far you’ve reached (figuratively) since you decided to put those laces on and run outside. You already are a RUNNER.