Yesterday I went on my long run – 6.7 miles in 63:34 min – and I forgot to stretch afterwards. By the time I made it home, I was feeling the pain. Needless to say, BioFreeze is my best friend right now.
If you’re anything like me, you have read up on recovery tips for post workouts or long runs. …did I religiously follow them? Not at first. It was not doing these things that got me to realize how much I needed to do these things. Here are a few of my favorites that I found actually work for me.
1. Stretch! I know this may seem like common sense, but sometimes I am so tired after a workout, I just want to get out of the gym, and head home for a shower, so I don’t stretch. Sometimes I also just forget, like yesterday. When I do skip out on my post-run stretch, I always notice a difference.
2. Hydrate! When I’m running, the last thing on my mind (believe it or not) is water. Many times I find myself only opening my water bottle once I complete my run. I hate taking water breaks when I’m already in my rhythm. To ensure that I am getting enough water after a run, I always fill up my water bottle right before I leave the gym, and make sure I drink the whole bottle on my way home. And then when I get home, I grab a full glass of ice water.
3. Eat protein & carbs within an hour after a workout. Yet, another tip I’m sure you’ve all heard of before. For a while, I didn’t take this rule too seriously. I started to notice a difference in how I felt later in the day and even the next day based on whether I had a proper post-run snack. I started to make it an everyday habit, and the soreness I used to feel the next morning has been noticeably reduced. My favorite post-workout snacks are greek yogurt with granola or fruit or egg whites with a piece of fruit like an apple or banana.
These few tips are the ones I found to be most crucial for me. Whether or not I follow them makes a difference in how I feel after a workout. When I’m not sore from my run the day before, I’m at my optimal performance level for my next workout.