Despite Get Lean being mostly about nutrition, my other huge passion is distance running. I've got a particular interest in recovery from training, as an ageing distance runner myself this is of particular interest. I have prepared this checklist for you, so please feel free to share and use for yourself.....
Recovering from training - Distance Running
Once training is done, you need to shift your thinking to recovery. Here are some tips...
Elevate Your Legs: This will help venous blood return (the blood in your veins that needs to get back to the heart and pumped into the lungs for re-oxygenation), stop blood pooling, and generally improve circulation. You can simply lie down and put your legs up on a chair or lounge for just a few minutes after running. Incredibly useful thing to do. Particularly important when in heavy training, training more than once per day, and if you have had any circulation issues in the past.
Shower with Cold Water on the legs: This also helps improve the circulation (more blood flow = faster recovery), and importantly can help bring down core temperature so that you are entering recovery faster. You can have a normal shower and just blast the legs with cold water at the end, or you can hose your legs down instead (the great Arthur Lydiard was a fan of this method), or even a quick dip in a cool to cold pool if you have access. This is very useful and something I have personally done for many years to great effect.
Eat: get some food in as soon as is practical after running, and keep it mixed ie a mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Your body has a faster than usual uptake of nutrients into muscle cells after training, so your muscles are ready to go next time, so be sure to use that time frame and get that good healthy food in. My usual straight after a run is a whey protein assisted smoothie, then some toast with peanut butter to keep the healthy fats coming (which also help with managing inflammation). If I'm lucky I'll have some Salmon on hand for that toast as well, as the Omega 3 oils in the Salmon are particularly useful for reducing inflammation which will enhance recovery even more.
Hydrate: If your urine is still dark an our after a run, your hydration is not over. Focus on this and ensure your water and electrolyte intake is solid after a run. Your body has chewed up lots of calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium during training so you need to put them back in!
Walk: A short walk will also help enhance blood flow and therefore recovery, as well as prevent stiffness. Strongly recommend this strategy. Don't sit down for too long after a run, especially a long run.
Massage: Get those waste products moving out of the muscles, and keep the body in check with regular massage. Hugely popular with the elite, you should do this too. OR you can get stuck into your muscles with a foam roller, quite effective as well.
Compression: Yep - compression products are very useful and they work. These products assist in blood flow and can also help reduce inflammation in much the same was as we use a bandage after injury.
Sleep: Hugely underestimated. Elites and weekend warriors who are busy will often cut into valuable sleep time in the mistaken belief that they are some kind of superhuman.... WRONG!! Sleep is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure mind and body are operating at full capacity. If you are operating on less than 7 hours per day, I suggest you re-visit your sleep patterns and try to get more of the good stuff.
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