How to fast track your post run and post race recovery

Recovery from your run is just as important as the training, because when correctly implemented you will bounce back quicker, reduce fatigue and minimise aches and pains meaning you’ll be ready for your next training session.


> RECOVERY IS INDIVIDUAL - it’s important to remember that personal fitness, health, age and your lifestyle will all play a part in how quickly you recover. So it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re having a busy week at work, you may feel fatigued for longer.

You know your body best, so if you don’t feel on top form substitute a harder session with an easy run, or move your harder sessions to the end of the week.

> COOL DOWN - taking the time to cool down properly post run and race will help reduce muscles stiffness. The overarching goal of a cool-down is to reduce your heart and breathing rate, gradually cooling your body temperature and returning muscles to a resting state.

Mbition gives recommended Cool Down times at the end of session, which consist of walking and some light stretching of the major muscles groups. If certain muscles feel particularly tight, take a bit longer to stretch these out.

> REHYDRATE - take on water and electrolytes to replace the fluids lost through exercise. If you want, you can make your own electrolyte drink by adding a little salt to fruit juice or squash. You don't need much salt; the recommended amount of sodium is 0.7g, which is just over 1/4 teaspoon salt (1.75g salt) per litre of fluid.

> REFUEL - having a snack within 30 minutes of your run will help you replenish glycogen stores. Ideally you want to take on some carbohydrate with a small amount of protein, like a slice of toast with scrambled egg, peanut butter or hummus.

A couple of hours post run have normal balanced meal to replenish those vitamins, glycogen stores and calories.

> KEEP ACTIVE - a general rule for race recovery when you’ve raced hard is to invest one day of recovery for every mile of the event - so if you ran a marathon it’s takes about a month (26 days) to recover and two weeks (13 days) for a half-marathon.

But recovery doesn’t mean putting your feet up on the sofa!

Doing active recovery sessions will get your blood moving around the body to repair damaged muscles and help reduce residual fatigue. Active recovery sessions are less intense and have less volume - for example going for a walk, a 20 minute easy run or a swim.

In training, it may take a couple of days to completely recover from your long run or high intensity session, so substitute a harder session with an easy run or walk and move key sessions to the end of the week.

> BE FLEXIBLE - training and race conditions such as climate and terrain will affect your rate of recovery. If your body has been put under more stress by a hilly run in the heat, it is likely that your recovery needs to be longer.

Implementing a recovery plan that works for you will help you bounce back quicker so you’ll be ready for the physical challenges ahead. But like training, work and life can get in the way of a good recovery plan so listen to your body and only get back to longer and high intensity sessions when you feel ready.

Happy recovery!

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