You know that the long run accounts for roughly 20-30 per cent of your total mileage. This type of run is essential for success and develops the endurance needed to go the distance on race day. You can add variety to these runs, but the primary purpose is to teach the body to run for a long duration while you keeping form.
It’s important to be able to recover from these runs so you can keep up with your weekly training. Here are five post-run recovery tips:
1) Rehydrate: After a long run, you may be dehydrated if you didn’t manage to take in enough fluids. Once you get in, drink a glass of water to kick start your rehydration process.
2) Refuel with clean nutrient dense foods: After your run, you may be craving some “junk” food. But before you reach for a cookie, kick start your recovery with a smoothie or some toast with peanut butter. For optimal recovery, it’s crucial to eat something nutritious in the first 20 minutes after a ride. After that, you’ll want to eat a proper meal rich in carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and protein to help your muscles in their recovery within the next hour and a half.
3) Stretching and foam rolling: A great way to deal with muscle tightness after your long run is stretching – something we all forget to do. Stretching after a run will prevent stiffness and help keep your body limber for future sessions. Add in some foam rolling too, to loosen up any stiff joints or aching muscles.
Related: Six stretches for triathletes
4) Sleep: Sleep is a recovery tool that you should take seriously. Being properly rested isn’t only important preparation for race day, but essential when training. After a long run your body might be in overdrive, so open a book or listen to some music to wind down. Even a short 20-minute power nap will help you refresh and get ready for any sessions you have in the PM.
Related: Five tips to sleep better at night
At night try to stay away from your phone, laptop or a TV screen in the hour before going to bed. Limit your alcohol consumption to have a good nights rest.
5) Active recovery: A great way to recover from a long run or a hard session on the track is a swim. The low impact of swimming is good for the body after a few hours of pounding your legs. Going for a leisurely ride the day after a big run can help your body’s recovery process. Head to your favourite coffee shop or ride the scenic bike path near your home.