As runners we already know that recovery is an important (but sometimes overlooked) part of training. Recovery after a long run may be one of the most important aspects of training and building mileage safely. The long run wears us down and we are usually spending quite a bit of time on our feet. So let’s talk about how to recover after a long run.
How to Recover After a Long Run
After you stop your Garmin, take a few minutes to walk, catch your breath, and cool down. I try to finish my run a few minutes away from home so that I can walk the rest of the way before going inside.
Hydrate After a Long Run
If you brought water with you, finish up the bottle. Otherwise head inside and get yourself a cold drink. Remember to use electrolytes to help replenish what you lost during your run. If you drive somewhere to do your long run, consider packing a cooler with some cold drinks to leave in your car.
While you drink your water/electrolytes, take a few minutes to stretch. Try this 6 minute standing stretch routine if you’re short on time.
Refuel to Recover After a Long Run
Try to eat something within 30-60 minutes of finishing your long run. If you have a hard time eating food after a long run you could try making a smoothie instead. I like to have a smoothie made ahead of time so it’s ready to go when I get back from my run. Then try to have a full meal a little bit later.
Now that you are hydrated and have eaten something, take a shower and change into something comfortable. Consider wearing compression socks to help your lower legs recover from your run. I like to wear sweats or leggings after a long run so that I feel more relaxed in general. I am also more likely to foam roll (see below). Even if I have plans later in the day I like to spend a few hours wearing something comfortable before changing into regular clothes.
Reflect on your run
Now it’s a good time to upload your run and check out your data. If you took any pictures share them to social media! Don’t forget to also congratulate other runners on their long runs.
Foam Roll to Recover After a Long Run
At some point during the day take a few minutes to foam roll or do some form of self-myofascial release. If you are really exhausted you may not want to get down on the floor with a roller. You could also use another product like the Stick or R8 Recovery Roller to release your tight muscles. It may be uncomfortable but it will be worth it to not be as sore the next day!
Rest to Recover After a Long Run
Make sure to get some rest whenever you can. Try to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Avoid spending a lot of time on your feet throughout the rest of the day.
Shake out your legs
The day after your long run is a good time to shake out your legs. Some runners like to do a recovery run, others like to take a rest day. Even if you don’t run try to move around a bit to get the blood flowing. A short walk is a good way to loosen things up the next day, or even later in the day after your long run.
Enjoy an adult beverage (if you like that sort of thing) and treat yourself to a delicious meal and/or dessert. Try to not think about running for a bit and just enjoy the feeling of knowing that your long run for the week is done!
Eat well, hydrate, rest, and move your body. All of these things will pay off if you do them regularly after your runs!
How do you recover after a long run?
Do you like doing recovery runs the next day?
What’s your favorite post-run snack/meal?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs and Organic Runner Mom to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.