Here are some quick tips for a nice recovery that I do after a long run, half marathon or major fitness event. I also share these tips with my fitness groups and clients.
1. Soon after your race or training run just walk and keep moving for 15 minutes. "I know, you just finished running and you just want to sit!". I totally get it but you need to grab water, take a deep breath and keep moving. This is the best way to get your heart rate down, cool the body and get your blood circulating properly to start the recovery process.
2. If you can (this is a hard one for me) within 60 minutes after your run refuel your body with a protein enriched meal that also includes carbohydrates. The protein will help muscles to rebuild properly while the carbs will replenish your glycogen levels.
3. When your muscles are "super" sore, I suggest that you give yourself a nice ice bath. This method is called cryotherapy which constricts blood vessels and slows down metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. In college, we used cryotherapy or "ice baths" for quick recovery after our first day of preliminary competition. It is extremely effective.
4. I can not stress this one enough. . .DRINK WATER consistently and test your hydration level by checking your "pee" each time you go to the bathroom. LOL! If your urine is dark, you need more water and keep drinking until your urine clears up.
5. Last, take one week off_at least a day or two_and continue to stretch 2 times a day. To all the running freaks out there, I know you will ignore this one but I am telling you, your body needs to heal. Even though you may look great from the outside, those muscles and organs are screaming for a break from the inside. Give your system a break.
Remember, get your protein, fruits and vegetables to help the body heal faster!
Have fun, Stay Strong, Live Long and TRAIN HARD!