There is nothing more wonderful than a long run. Nothing more special and magical.
However afterwards (both straight after, hours after as well as the day after) I am often in urgent search for that magic. Recovery from a long trainings run squeezed into a very busy life isn’t always easy.
In this post I will try and put some of my experience on paper, in combination with what other bloggers, pages, authors and running magazines suggest.
Straight after you run: Get some water down. Even if you did drink whilst running- an adult male can loose up to one liter per hour whilst running in 20 degrees… post-run dehydration headaches are nasty.
Stretch out your muscles for a couple of minutes but make sure you get out into some dry and warm clothes beforehand. Leave any longer sequence of stretching for later.
If it’ been a 20miler in cold weather a bath can do wonders. Here opinions split though into hot/cold baths:
The ice bath: fill your bath tub with ice cubes and cold water. Its enough to sit in it for a couple of minutes. It works wonders apparently. Yes, I have’t tried it as most of my long runs have been in winter…
Hot Bath: You know how to do it… it’s nice to add salt to it as it helps to get rid of any extra acidity that built up during the long run. The con is that some argue that a hot bath can even worsen already inflamed muscles.
When it comes to food and recovery I get the impression that opinions split at this point- some argue that ideally up to 30min after your run a light snack and some protein would be useful. Others argue that especially protein would be too difficult to digest.
Personally I found that a double shot Latte and a fruit bar (sugar free and organic) totally does the job. If it’s been a 20miler I would add a pint glass of an electrolyte sport drink.
After stretching, shower/bath I usually start preparing a proper meal, consisting of high calorie intake like mackerel, nuts, salad with feta cheese, scrambled eggs, steamed vegetables,etc. Basically a combination of protein, fat and vegetables (carbs). I did not carbo(re)load during my marathon training as I was training by following the ” Prinzhausen Principle”. More on that one in a separate review.
I was once told that Japanese martial arts warriors have the saying that it is very important to look after your feet. Whilst they might talk about grounding and energy work- it should be obvious and essential for every runner. So absolute part of the recovery is to look after ones feet. A salt foot bath can do wonders and after a 20miler cooling or herbal foot cream can feel soothing.
If you feel you overdid it or you feel injured, tumeric and ginger can work as natural anti-inflammatory (natures ibuprofen so to say). Tumeric extract is available to buy in capsules.
Alternatively icing of the injured area can do wonders.
Apart from that- rest if you need to or chose active recovery (I quite enjoyed going for a walk after finishing my Marathon this spring).
Enjoy the feeling of achievement after all the miles you logged…
What is your recovery ‘secret’?