How to recover from a long distance run
Today I reached a personal best for both distance and time/pace in my preparation for the Dublin City marathon at the end of October 2018. When you put your body under that strain for that amount of time, knowing how to recover from that bodily stress will help you start walking properly again in no time!
Recovery from a long run actually starts in the run itself. Minimise your dehydration levels by taking small sips of water mixed with coconut water often (every 2-3 miles works well for me) to quickly replenish lost salts and electrolytes as you sweat. Always run on grass where available – you will cut your risk of injury in half.
Recovery from a long run actually starts in the run itself.
Epsom salts. When you get home, run a piping hot bath and throw 1-2 cupfuls of these amazing little minerals into it before you get in. The two main ingredients here are the minerals magnesium and sulfate which are both readily absorbed through the skin. They help to ease pain and reduce inflammation which will help your sore muscles recover faster. Plus you will really enjoy a soak in the tub after all that road time. You can get a big tub (4kg) in any pharmacy for about €12-€15. I use the UltraPure range below at the moment and find it really helpful.
Try to eat within 1.5 hrs of finishing your run. For me, this is a tough one as it takes at least that amount of time for my appetite to return but when it does I turn into a caveman. You will need a mix of complex carbs and good quality protein for recovery. Right now I am really enjoying a halloumi burger with sweet potato fries as my post-run reward meal. Delish!
Have a beer or whatever is your tipple of choice that evening. Small reward systems are important and should not be overlooked as they improve the psychological experience of what you are doing. You deserve it!
Rest is the best performance enhancer on the market today. Underrated and omitted from today’s “hack” culture, getting good quality sleep both before and after a long distance run can make all the difference in terms of how you feel and your recovery. Sleep your way to improvement.
The next day, go for a small run. I know this may be the last thing you want to do but trust me this little step will pay off in spades when you go for your next proper run. I usually do 0.5 to 1 mile run with my kids the next day and have some fun with it. It helps to loosen up the body and get rid of any remaining lactic acid in the joints. Trust me on this one.
Apply these tips to avoid this.