Do you feel like you should be recovering faster from speed workouts or long runs?
Or, do you already recover well, but there’s still some room for improvement? I want to share with you some of the best strategies I’ve learned from almost a decade of coaching runners, as well as from personal experience from my own running.
There are a few strategies that aren’t talked about nearly enough and take no extra time on your part. Let’s start with those:
This first strategy works amazingly well, so make sure you actually try it. After a speed workout or long run, surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Only watch funny or feel-good shows.
Only listen to uplifting music. Save watching stranger things or stressing about the latest news story until the next day. Trust me! I know this sounds corny, but for a long time, research has shown that people recover and heal faster when they feel good. So many people accept that stress is stress, meaning that something like work stress can have an impact on physical performance, but forget to make the connection that that also means feeling good can have a positive impact on physical performance.
Also, recovery, right? Even if you don’t have time to truly relax after a key workout, surrounding yourself with positivity is one way to focus on recovery.
This next one is another easy and quick strategy that most people don’t realize is extremely important for recovery. That’s to stay hydrated!
Dehydration requires your heart to have to work harder to pump your blood and all the oxygen and nutrients it contains throughout your body. Your muscles need those nutrients and oxygen to recover.
If you never take a drink with you on a run and you often feel fatigued after runs, maybe even hours later, you could feel fatigued.
This is a good sign you need to focus more on hydration.
Depending on the temperature, how long you’re running for, and your personal needs, you may want to consider hydrating with an electrolyte drink so your body can better absorb the fluids that you’re drinking. I’m all about these tips that require little or no extra time on your part. So, let’s keep it going!
Onto my third strategy:
Take a couple of minutes to practice deep, relaxed breathing. That’s right, research has been done to show that just a few minutes of deep breathing can help jumpstart the recovery process. If you can do this sitting or lying down in a quiet space, that’s ideal. However, if you’re short on time, you can also do this while stretching or in the shower.
Now, let’s make sure you’re nailing your nutrition to keep things simple. My suggestion is within 30 minutes of run, get in some healthy carbs and some protein. I personally have a recovery drink almost immediately after every single run. However, you can also have some oatmeal or peanut butter, a burrito bowl with rice and beans, or other healthy foods that contain carbs and some protein.
If you like to indulge a little after a long run, there’s not anything wrong with that, but please, please make sure you’re getting in some healthy food that’s going to give your body the nutrients it needs to recover fast.
Even though I’m focusing on post-run nutrition with this tip, eating nutrient-dense foods until satisfied every single day is just huge for feeling good and getting the most out of your training.
Now, my next tip might seem to take more of your time, but it will most likely save you a lot of time. Any guesses on what it is? It’s what I would rank as the most important recovery strategy, which is getting enough sleep. Don’t lose me!
If you’re about to tell me you don’t have enough time to get seven, eight, or even nine hours of sleep, just wait a second.
I used to be chronically sleep deprived. During that time, my recovery sucked, and my focus was awful. By prioritizing sleep, I can run for hours and solve all the energy and focus I need to get things done efficiently.
Anyone else who went from not getting enough sleep to getting enough sleep, can tell you that daily tasks can be accomplished so much faster when you’re well rested.
This is why ensuring that you get enough sleep can actually make it seem like you have a lot more time when you’re awake. You’re probably going to notice that you can recover faster from your runs, which is probably going to lead to greater running improvements.
The last way to recover like a pro is to add in a little mobility or active recovery after your speed workouts or long runs.
If you run in the morning and then sit all day at work, taking a few minutes in the evening to move can help set you up to feel good the next day. So get your blood flowing and keep your muscles from tightening up after all that’s sitting.
I’m personally a big fan of a little active release followed by mobility to help ensure my body doesn’t get tight and is moving well.You could also do some yoga, go for a walk, play outside with your kids, whatever will get you up, and doing some easy movements.
If you apply even just a couple of these recovery strategies, you’re going to notice a significant improvement in how you’re feeling after workouts and even on a daily basis.