You’ve trained hard and completed your run, but the best runners know that what follows next is just as important – and that’s recovery. Good recovery will help restore muscles and energy levels enabling you to continue to train well and build fitness, as well as helping to prevent fatigue, injury and even a suppressed immune system.
Here, Vlad Shatrov, elite runner and founder of ultimate training organisation Runlab, shares his top tips.
“It may seem a little crazy in the middle of winter but my personal favourite recovery activity is submerging my legs in cold water as soon as possible after a run,” says Vlad.
“At this time of year, I put on a jumper and a beanie, then walk into an ocean or home pool deep enough to cover my legs. It’s the best way to reduce inflammation and increase circulation, which means you’re less likely to experience muscle soreness.”
There is evidence [PDF] that wearing compression tights after exercise reduces muscle soreness and accelerates repair, so pack a pair in your bag and put them on as soon as possible after your event.
Eat within 30 mins
Within the first 30 minutes of finishing a long and strenuous workout you should eat a snack that includes protein and carbohydrates to refuel your muscles. The protein helps repair muscle damage whilst the carbohydrate replenishes energy stores. Vlad recommends a banana, low fat chocolate milk or a protein drink.
Aim to replace all the fluid you lost through sweat and a bit more.
To prevent stiffness take part in some light exercise within 12–24 hours of a race. This should be low impact and enjoyable like a walk around the harbour with friends, a cycle or a swim.
Have a massage 3–5 days after the event, any sooner and your muscles may be too sore. This will help flush out toxins, enhance recovery and generally make you feel more comfortable.
Taking part in events like the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k is a lot of fun. Use Vlad’s tips to ensure you feel great afterwards as well!