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.