by Dr. Brian Hay, DPT, MS, OCS
Proper recovery from a run can be just as important as preparing for one. Most of the articles you read about running will discuss preparing for a run, but learning about the proper recovery should be just as important, and is just as crucial in preventing injuries.
1) Recover Before You Finish
Always plan to finish your run with a cool down. Each run should start slow, where you increase in activity, then begin to decrease your pace and effort levels towards the ends. This decrease in energy exertion allows your heart rate to begin to drop and muscle replenishment to start.
2) Refill the Tank
Once you finish your run, it's important to replenish your nutrients within the next 30 minutes. The replenishment of lost nutrients is a critical step for muscle recovery because your body can drain its glycogen supplies during a run. Therefore, it's important to replenish your carbohydrates and proteins. The general rule of thumb is to consume 3 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein. This ratio is typically found in an energy bar (Cliff Bar, Power Bar, etc). If solid food is not your thing after a run, try some chocolate milk.
Drink plenty of water. Plain and simple. Check out our previous tips on staying hydrated while running here.
4) Roll It Out
Massaging your muscles can reduce muscle soreness be 30%, and foam rolling is the best way to really dig into those muscles, giving them the good massage they need.
Watch Dr. Michelle Collie, DPT, MS, OCS demonstrate proper massage techniques.