Healthy Monday for Runners: Recovery

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How do you recover from a run?

 
Many times we don’t recover properly from a run, mainly because we overlook the importance of recovery after every run, and not just hard races, or because we are too busy to take care of ourselves as we should.

 
To stay as strong and healthy as possible, a good recovery routine is essential.
Running on a regular basis takes a toll on our bodies, and taking care of it during the time we are not running, ensures we’ll be ready for our next run.

 
I run 5 times a week, early in the morning, always followed by a busy day working and taking care of 2 small kids. So for me, finding little things that I can do throughout the day to recover, even if I don’t have a lot of free time, is a priority.
These are things I do every day, even on days I don’t run.
A few minutes here and there doing the following things, keeps me healthy and injury free.

 
1) Stretch:
Stretching right after running is the perfect start to aid recovery. When we run our muscles progressively contract, and a few basic stretching exercises will help relax them.
I religiously do just a few minutes (I don’t have the patience for more) of stretching my calves and hamstrings, and my legs feel limber and pain free again.

 
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2) Drink:
Drinking plenty of water right after we finish running is essential to replace fluid we’ve lost through sweat, and to avoid post-running dehydration.
In addition to this, make sure you are drinking enough throughout the day.
I always keep two bottles of water on my desk at work, and my big glass of drinking water on the counter at home, this way I’m always reminded to drink. I drink about 3 liters a day, and this includes mostly water, sometimes water with electrolytes, sometimes fresh juice. Coffee, milk, tea, and all other drinks, I don’t count towards the 3 liters.

 
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3) Eat healthy foods:
Giving our bodies the best “fuel” will improve how well we recover and how well we run. I try to eat nutritious and clean foods, whole grains, lots of vegetables and fruits, low fat dairy, eggs, healthy fats, etc.
It’s not always easy to eat healthy because we are often tempted by delicious foods, and no one wants to feel deprived for the sake of running or staying slim. Therefore it’s important to find the balance that works for you between eating healthy and enjoying your favorite treats.

 
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4) Supplement:
There are varied products out there to help provide our bodies with everything they need for optimal recovery. From electrolytes to protein powders to amino acids, experimenting and finding something that works for you, could be a great addition to your nutrition.
For me personally, many times eating clean and supplementing don’t go together well, but I have found a few products I’m willing to take for the sake of better nutrition and a better recovery.

 
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5) Take care of your feet and legs:
There are things we can do while running and after, to ensure the best recovery for our feet and legs.
When running, make sure you have well-fitting shoes and quality running socks.
After running, there are products to aid recovery such as compression socks or calf sleeves, creams and spray to cool tired muscles, and wearing comfortable shoes.

 
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6) Foam roll:
Rolling may seem like a strange practice to some, but using a roller on our muscles by applying our own body weight, helps massage our muscles intensely and avoid injury.
If I had to choose the one thing that helps me recover and keep injury free the most, it would be the roller. After a hard run my legs feel sore for hours, until I use the roller in the evening and the soreness is suddenly gone. I know rolling is not the most pleasant thing to do, but so worth it.

 
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7) Sleep well:
Give your body the rest it needs for proper function, high energy levels, and effective recovery. Not only do our muscles repair themselves while we sleep, but not getting enough sleep and being tired will increase our risk of injury.

 
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What is your favorite way to recover from a run? Your least favorite?



 

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