HBF Run for a Reason - Recovery from your Run

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.

Active Recovery

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.

Stretching

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.

Cold Therapy

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

professional.

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.

Try this:

Don’t try this:

Compression

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)!

Dave