Once the run is all done and dusted, it’s time to turn your mind to recovery.
Recovery is important if you plan on running much this week (which I hope
everyone does) or if you just want to feel as comfortable as possible over the 72
hours following your run.
Below are a few tips on how to maximize your recovery and minimize any sneaky aches, pains and irritations that might rear their heads after 4, 12 or 21km of fun and hard work around the streets of Perth.
Just as an active warm up is really important, an active recovery is equally
important. This allows your body to gradually cool down and efficiently move
the lactic acid from the legs back up towards your lymph nodes so that it can be
dissipated. An active recovery also stops blood from pooling in your legs and feet
and gets it moving back up towards your heart for redistribution around the rest
of the body. Long story short - fewer aches and pains.
I would suggest that following the run a 10 – 15 minute walk would be great, and
certainly better than jumping straight into your car.
I always get asked whether or not stretching helps. My answer: If it feels good,
then do it. If there is a specific muscle that feels tight, then stretch it out and hold
for a few sets of 30 seconds. Whilst the research suggests that stretching won’t
really “lengthen” your muscles, it can help to reduce a little bit of post run
soreness and cramping.
If you have a specific injury or area of soreness that you are concerned about
after the run, icing it with an ice pack should be your first thought. We currently
suggest 20 minutes of icing every two hours for the first couple of days following
the injury. If you’re worried, have it checked out by a physio or other health
If it is just general soreness or wanting to maximise recovery, heading down to
the beach for a walk in the water can dramatically help the speed and quality of
your recovery. An ice bath, while not for the faint hearted, is even better as it
tends to be slightly cooler than the water in May.
During the run, your muscles will experience a small amount of microtrauma,
which is normal. This causes inflammation which can be uncomfortable in the
days following the run. A combination of the water pressure on your legs, and
the cold temperature causes vasoconstriction (temporary narrowing of the blood
vessels), which helps to reduce this inflammation and also helps to move blood
and lactic acid back up and out of your legs. Spending 10 – 15 minutes in chest deep
cold water is ideal (waist deep water is still ok), and can be done with great
effect any time within six hours of the run, but the sooner the better.
Don’t try this:
Compression garments have become a mainstay component of recovery for most
professional athletes following training and games. It can have a positive effect
following high bouts of activity.
So once you’ve finished your run, done an active recovery, been for a walk in the
chest deep water, showered and refuelled; try putting on a fresh pair
of compression tights for the remainder of the day so that you’re ready for a
fresh week of training by Monday.
Wishing everyone the very best of luck for the run (and a great recovery)!