I haven’t run ‘long’ in quite a while, and my legs are really feeling it after Sunday’s hilly half marathon. Tom’s been struggling with post-run soreness, and I’ve been sharing with him the recovery that works for me (when I do it correctly!). I know that everyone has their own long run recovery routine, but I thought I’d share some of my own with you, including those that are non-negotiable (eat, drink, be merry??)
How to Recover after a Long Run
Eat- You should be aiming for about 10g-20g protein after your run, which I’ll balance with some healthy fats and carbs. I usually run first thing so I’ll come back and have scrambled eggs on wholewheat toast with avocado and a latte. After all of my runs training for the Berlin Marathon, I would stop at the coffee shop immediately after my run for an iced latte! Definitely kept me going on a few occasions. Skimmed milk is actually a great recovery drink, with the perfect ratio of protein, carbs and fluid!
Hydrate- Even if it’s not that hot and you haven’t sweat a whole lot, it’s really important to stay hydrated both during and after your run. According to Eat and Think ‘Dehydration increases the level of stress hormones in your body; increased stress hormones such as cortisol dampen down your immune system, making it much easier to pick up bugs such as coughs and colds.’ I drink a mixture of water, coffee/tea, squash, V-Water (great while I’m on sugar free, plus the added vitamins and minerals are a bonus!) and juice/smoothies. Basically, ALL THE DRINKS after a long run.
Stretch– I admit, I’m not the best at stretching but am getting better. I usually use a 5 min yoga for runners youtube video, or use a foam roller to stretch post run however if I’m in a hurry I’ve been known to do the ‘shower stretch’ whilst washing my hair.
Have a bath – I don’t actually subscribe to the ice bath crew, however I love a hot bath after a long run either immediately after or later that day. I fill it with Arnica salts or Deep Heat muscle soak, plenty of bubble bath (I’m currently using Zoella’s bubble bath that smells great!) and zone out. I am really girly and fill the room with candles to mentally relax as well as physically. It can be a great time to reflect over your run and week of training, and prepare for the week of training ahead.
Move– The times where I’ve felt worst after a long run is when I’ve sat on the sofa for the remainder of the day. Going for a walk or meeting friends for lunch or coffee is a great way to flush the lactic acid out of your legs and should mean you don’t feel so sore the following day! I’ve also tried the ‘legs up the wall’ recovery position, however I’m not sure if that one really works.
What’s your go-to for long run recovery? Anything you like to eat/drink straight after?
This post is sponsored by V Water, all bath time candles are my own (given to me by friends usually!).
I love ice cream after a long run (or bike ride).
Great ideas but how does a half marathon not count as a long run!? I think you can credit yourself for it!
Absolutely agree that a little movement works better than no movement at all. Only exceptions seem to be ultras where sleep is your best pal and i know people who have significant problems staying awake long enough to stretch, eat, ice etc.
I’m definitely not the best at refuelling. I sometimes cant be assed making food then realise its 2hrs later- well past recovery window. I also know I do the ‘I ran tons so now i can eat crap’ thing. In terms of hydration I drink a ton of water. I have a stash of nuun but TBH so far all I have used it for is a hangover…
I tend to do both an ice bath post LR AND a hot bath later that night or the next night if V stiff.
I SO SO SO miss having a bath tub! All of these sound lovely though I think I need to focus most on refueling!
I love a hot epsom salt bath after a long run. I used to be all about the ice bath, but I find that epsom salts do just as well. I also like to have a big omelet and toast after my run!
Hi Charlie, I just read your interview over on Deliciously Ella’s blog – really great advice! I hadn’t discovered your blog until now and loving it! Love this piece too. I use epsom salts-a-plenty in a bath after a good workout and run, or if I just want some extra nervous system relaxation from the magnesium. Pretty candles and nice smells help too :). I wrote an article on my blog about running that you and your readers would like – it looks at how aerobic exercise affects the body and brain and some top tips…http://thelifedelight.com/move-well/why-aerobic-exercise-is-good-for-you/. Have a lovely day! Love & Delight, Claire -x-