After a hard workout, it’s important to recover well to maximize gains and prepare for future work. Here’s a 7-step process to help you recover quicker:
1. Cooldown run
3. Protein within 30 minutes
What’s going on Runner’s hope all is well, I wanted to talk about a question I saw on a Facebook group today. The particular person was asking how do you best recover from a hard workout? And a lot of answers, but I think I wrote a good answer. And I want to share with you and I wrote a good answer, because I feel like I’ve been in this situation so many times for so many years. And I feel like I have a seven step process that I go through after a hard workout to help increase my chances of running better the next day. So here’s what my seven steps are.
The first one is after you have a hard workout, and I’m talking like a track workout, a hard tempo workout, even a really long, hard run where you’re pushing the pace. The first thing that I do is I make sure I number one, cool down. And the reason for that is you don’t want to just stop after a heart effort because the lactic acid that you generate in that heart ever from going anaerobic is building up your legs. And by doing a cooldown, you’re going to help flush that lactic acid out of the muscles, if it stays in the muscles, that recreates that soreness that you get the next day. And so by doing a cooldown, you’re going to activate those muscle fibers and it’s going to push that lactic acid out of the muscles into the rest of the body to be flushed away. So number one, do a cooldown, I typically do a two mile cooldown, which is about 1815 to 18 minutes for me, you don’t have to do that long, you can do five minutes, anything better than zero minutes is going to help you flush that lactic acid out. So think about doing a cooldown.
Number two, stretch. After hard effort, you want to just stretch for five minutes. Again, it’s about getting that lactic acid out of the muscles that can cause soreness, and to also increase overall flexibility in the muscle that being contracted for a very hard effort. A simple five minute cooldown is a cool down stretch is a all I really need to get the benefit. Work on the hamstrings, the quadriceps work on your calves, any of those areas that you typically get sore focus on those areas.
Number three protein. Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, you have this magic window where you can eat and your body is super receptive to bring in the nutrients your cells are they’re craving things. If you can optimize what you eat in that 30 minute window, it’s going to help you recover. And the thing that you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of during that window is protein. Protein is what you need to rebuild the muscles that you destroy in a good way as part of exercise. And so that’s what you want to go do. Eat some protein, protein drink, chicken, whatever it is, right whatever your protein sources, beans, whatever it is, you want to consume protein within that magic window after a workout to give your body the amino acids that it needs to repair the muscles that you damage as a natural part of exercise. That’s what happens. repair the muscles so that you can recover stronger and quicker.
Number four, hydrate throughout the day. You want to continue hydrating because it’s going to keep it’s going to keep things flowing in your muscles it’s gonna provide the aqueous solution for your muscles to push out lactic acid to push out waste products and let them carry weight into the screen. So you into your bloodstream. So you want that to happen. Make sure you’re hydrating throughout the day, because it’ll help clean up your the work you did in your muscles and it’ll help you prepare you. If there’s a good chance that you expend a lot of water and sweat during your exercise you want to get that back into your body so that you can be recovered for the next day.
Number five massage later on in the day is when you want to get on a foam roller use your theragun whatever it is something to really take out the muscles and smooth out the fibers again, when you exercise you can track them, it can make things kind of bunched up and you get these little tight knots and the faster gets all tight. And the purpose of massage is to kind of break all that up and smooth muscle back out again so you don’t have a critical mass of muscle fibers. It’ll smooth that out and you can get nice smooth contraction if you go back to work again. So massage is very helpful I am I have a fair gun.I love that they’re a gun I can really use it on the spots in my body and I found it very effective. Also foam roller, which works as well, but massage, great, great way to help you recover.
Number six ice. If you have an area that is particularly sore or an area that’s kind of bothering you, a great way to prevent inflammation from building up is with ice by ice and get is going to it’s going to help that particular troubled area not swallowed inflammation, it’s going to keep the inflammation down, which allows the blood to flow to that area and allows the nutrients to flow to that area and help repair that site. When the inflammation kicks in, it kind of restricts it all. So you want to keep that inflammation down so that your body can naturally repair the trouble spot. So if you have an area that is hurting, ice is a great solution for that.
And the final one I use is compression. And so the idea of compression also is to keep an inflammation down and allow your blood to naturally go to that area. If I’ve had a really tough workout and my legs are particularly sore, I will often put on a pair of compression socks and use them to sleep and wear them to bed at night. And I feel like when I wake up the next morning I feel so much better that compression socks just restrict everything, keep the inflammation down and keep the blood flowing to that area to bring the nutrients of what I need to help recover. So in summary, after you have a hard workout, there are seven things that I recommend that you do to help recover quicker and stronger the next day. Cool down run, stretching protein within 30 minutes, hydrate, massage, ice as needed. And lastly, compression especially in the evening time.
Best wishes on chasing your running goals.