Most runners are aware of the importance of recovery, but it can be difficult to always focus on recovering properly. I’ve found that when I’m not training for a race, I don’t always focus on recovery as much as I should. Especially if I am still running pretty regularly. These top 5 important recovery tips for runners are simple but crucial. I am using this as a reminder to focus on my own recovery, and I hope you will do the same!
When it comes to recovery I try not to overthink it at this point. There are many additional things we can do to enhance recovery, and some runners may want to look into those if they are training very hard. For most of us, focusing on the basics is a really good place to start. By following these 5 recovery tips for runners you will be more likely to feel good on your runs and be able to continue with your training.
1. Focus on nutrition and hydration
While nutrition and hydration are important, I don’t think we need to stress over them. Listening to our bodies goes a long way. It’s just important that as we are running and working out that we make sure we are refueling properly. Some reminders are to eat as soon as you can after a workout, include a variety of foods/nutrients in your diet, and take fuel with you on longer runs.
As for hydration, I think the best way to stay hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you all day. This will keep you drinking all day long and not ending up dehydrated or particularly thirsty. Now that it’s getting warm out it’s also more important to focus on getting some electrolytes before, during, or after a run.
2. Get enough rest
This is one I’ve really struggled with lately! Sleep is so important to how we recover. Not just hours of sleep, but quality of sleep too. If you’re not sleeping well you may want to consider reducing your training a bit.
I think the best approach to getting enough sleep is to go to bed as early as you can. How many of us stay up watching TV or scrolling through Instagram? That time is better spent getting some sleep.
Also, are you getting enough “rest” in general? By this I mean, time to relax, time off from working out, and rest days each week. Take a look at your weekly routine and consider if you are pushing too hard day after day without giving yourself a break.
3. Foam roll and stretch/mobilize
I’m putting these all together because I think you need to find what works best for you. Some runners just stretch after their runs. Others include mobility work on non-running days or before a run. Sometimes weekly yoga does the trick.
I wrote some posts about the conflicting information around these topics:
The Great Stretching Debate
Is Stretching Worth Your Time? Things to Consider When Deciding If You Need to Stretch
Beyond Foam Rolling: Using Self-Myofascial Release Strategically to Prevent Injury
Again, find what works for you. I like to do a little bit of everything depending on how I feel.
4. Take care of yourself mentally
This has been a very stressful year for many of us. Are you checking in on your mental health regularly? If you are struggling, there are things you can do on your own or you can consider getting professional help. At work we partnered with Pure Edge to get training in mindfulness and they have a lot of free resources on their website.
5. Vary your workouts
Are you running the same exact pace day after day? This is an easy habit to fall into when you’re not training for anything. Even if you aren’t doing hard workouts, makes sure to take a few days a week to really slow down and recover. This could mean an easy run, a walk, or another cross-training activity.
As I have been writing this I have realized just how bad I’ve been doing in some areas of my recovery! I have several things to work on if I want to keep running higher (for me) mileage.
Are you consistent about your recovery?
What is your favorite way to recover?
Do you need to work on any of these areas?
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, Running on Happy and Organic Runner Mom to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.