Monday, July 19, 2010

Four long run recovery tips

Today I thought I'd share my best advice for what to do to recover quickly from a long run!

1. Ibuprofen! I've not tried this personally, but I think I'll give it a whirl on my 16-miler this weekend. The idea is to take a couple BEFORE you start running, to help prevent any muscle aches. I've heard other runners swear by this, so I'll have to give it a try and tell you what I think.

2. Ice bath. Now this is going to sound rather masochistic, so just bear with me for a moment. When you get an injury what do you often do? Ice it! The idea is that the cold helps reduce swelling. This works wonders on achy leg muscles following a long run. I've done this two different ways. The first is the hard core method: fill the bathtub with a few good inches of the coldest water possible and sit in it! It is murder at first, but just trust me on this one. I try to sit for about 10 minutes or so and I may keep my upper body covered or wrapped in a towel while I do this. AFTERWARDS, I'll hop in a hot shower. The other, simpler method: run the shower on cold for a few minutes and direct the water at your legs. Then turn it to hot. I know this sounds awful - and it sort of is at the time - but I promise, it will do wonders for your recovery!

3. Short 2-miler next day. I know the last thing you want to do is run following a long run, but even getting out there and doing a gentle 2 or 3 mile run will help keep your legs from stiffening and work out the kinks. I did this yesterday following my 14-miler on Saturday. The 2-miler wasn't bad at all - I actually felt I could've gone much farther. But I didn't. The point here is to just recover, not to do a full workout. If you really do NOT want to run, get out there and do a fast walk for 20-30 minutes.

4. Rest! This is my favorite post-run activity! It's important to kick your legs up, maybe have some nice person rub your feet, and if you're able - take a nap. You've earned it!

What are your favorite ways to recover from a long run?

Photo credit Ariel da Silva Parreira

No comments: