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5 ways to accelerate post-run recovery

We’ve all had those runs that have left us walking like John Wayne for a few days afterwards right?

You know the ones, where you have to walk down the stairs backwards.

Or you get stuck on the toilet and have to cry for help to get back off again (embarrassing).

It can be seen as a badge of honour (it is kinda funny!) but my goal on Monday wasn’t just to run 35 miles, it was to run 35 miles and then feel ‘ok’ afterwards.

I’ve done plenty of runs over the years that have lead to some interesting looks from people as I try to get out of the car afterwards.

But right now I’m all about the recovery.

If I can’t do 35 miles without walking like a newborn deer the next day how am I going to cope with 100 miles in a couple of weeks’ time.

So I’ve been paying particular attention to the recovery process and want to share with you 5 of the things that that have been working really well for me lately.

I’m going to lie, I didn’t get away with those 41 miles (misjudged the route!) entirely scott free.

But as I ran to the gym later on that afternoon I asked myself ‘could I go for another marathon today?’

And yes, I think I probably could.

So here’s what I do.

1) Walk briskly for 5 minutes at the end of the run.  

I find that this really helps to loosen things off rather than just stopping dead

2) Post-run nutrition & fluids

I have some kind of nutrient-rich recovery smoothie as soon as I’m done.

Chuck in whatever goodies you can lay your hands on – coconut oil, chia seeds, goji berries, flaxseed, macca powder –  or sometimes I just blitz up a 33Shake recovery smoothie.

I have to admit that when I got back on Monday, my post-run nutrition strategy also included a paella with potatoes, 2 chicken wraps, a bowl of cereal and huge slice of cheese cake.

But I figured I was 6500 calories down so didn’t worry too much about ‘going dirty’.

(I also nail a big ol’ glass of Lean Greens every morning which guarantees my base of body-repairing nutrition for the day)

3) Foam roll & stretch

I don’t do this immediately because muscles are too tender and inflamed, but yesterday at the gym I spent about 20 minutes grimacing on the Grid and doing some dynamic stretches.

Makes a spectacular difference to how limber you feel.

4) Mobilise

You can either do a proper sequence of mobility drills or just keep yourself moving about.  Try to make yourself walk down the stairs properly.

Practice lifting your thigh up parallel to the ground.  Do a few squats and roll downs.

Just keep moving.

4.5) M.O.T.

I wrote the 5 first thing this morning but then went for a routine chiropractic appointment and HAVE to include this.

I’d take an M.O.T (actually more like a service) ahead of dealing with a breakdown any day of the week.

Tightnesses, locked joints & misalignments won’t always show up as injuries (until you’re like 2 weeks out from a big race!) but they’ll definitely affect how quickly you recovery and get back to normal function.

5) Ice

I didn’t ice after Monday’s run, but I regularly do.  Sit in a bath 10” full of water and ice, for about 10 minutes and let the cryotherapy do it’s best.

If you really want to recover fast then an ice bath is the nuts.

But if your objective is gains from the training, then use with caution.

Cold therapy works by reducing inflammation, but it’s the inflammation that brings fresh nutrients to your muscles to repair them.

Cut in on this natural process and you can inhibit some of the gains you would otherwise have made from your training.

I used ice baths after each of my 10 marathons last year because my goal was to be recovered for the next day’s marathon.

Monday was all about the training effect so no ice bath.