Pop quiz: you’ve just finished a long run, you walk in the door, and now what? If your next move is to take kick back and turn on the TV, you’re doing recovery all wrong.
We totally get it; you’re achy and drained from the exertion, and all you want to do is take a break. But how you treat your body post-run can really benefit you in the long run (pun intended). So we spoke with Reebok Boston Track Club pro runner, Robert Domanic
to learn what should be top of mind as you finish up your run.
Stretch it out
You wouldn’t run without warming up (right?!), so you shouldn’t stop without cooling down. Stretching after your run can help keep your legs loose, and allow you to assess any problem or tight areas. “Foam rolling is pretty important. Specifically targeting your stretching to certain areas may be helpful because a lot of people don’t stretch or work on their glutes enough and it’s the biggest muscle in the body.”
While Domanic says you don’t necessarily need to stretch after every single run, it’s a good practice to have. “I think getting into the good habit of stretching after every run definitely helps, you can feel it day to day your muscles are looser and you’re ready to go.”
It comes as no surprise that you have to drink even more water when you’re getting a good sweat in. “It is very important for muscle recovery to drink evenly throughout the day and make sure you’re staying hydrated. You want to drink more water than what you think you need,” says Domanic. Find a water bottle that tracks where you’re drinking throughout the day or one that keeps it nice and cold so you have no excuses.
Re-fuel sooner rather than later
Of course, fueling your body with food post-run is a given, but did you know that you should be eating within twenty minutes after you run? That’s right, twenty minutes is when you get the maximum recovery benefits. “You don’t have to necessarily eat a big meal 20 minutes after you run but it’s nice if you can pack a granola bar or some kind of recovery bar or fruit.”
Listen to your body
Running can take a toll on your body so it’s important to focus on areas that might be giving you trouble post-run. To do this, Domanic suggests massages or potentially working with a physical therapist. “I don’t go to PT unless I’m hurt but I do think PT would be very helpful. They can find deficiencies in your stride and what you’re doing that could cause you get to get injured in certain places so they can help you strengthen certain areas of your body so you can help stay as healthy as possible.”
And if neither are in your budget range and you’re feeling tight, you can always opt for the previously mentioned foam roller or a lacrosse ball as substitute. “You can roll out on a lacrosse ball and that can help if you need to get deep into places.”
For more on the Reebok Boston Track Club click here