HOW TO: Recover like a Lazy Runner

Whether you’re just starting to run, or you have been an running for awhile, it’s important to properly recover from a run. For the lazy runner, it’s also important to not push yourself too hard and too fast. If you’re just starting out, don’t run every day of the week. Start off with just a few short runs a week. Proper recovery is important because this is where improvement will happen. Proper recovery will ensure that your body gets the right amount of rest it needs for the next work out session and for every day life activities.

Once you have finished a run, the recovery process is starting to take effect. The fibers in your muscles that have suffered micro-tearing and been robbed of energy are in the process of recovery. Also, your bones that took a toll during your run are starting their own recovery process. It’s important to follow a well-balanced recovery regimen to keep you on track and to stay healthy.

Woman drinking water

The Lazy Runner Recovery Regimen

#1: Stretch
Many runners stretch before a run, but it’s also important to do a proper after run stretch. Static stretching should be used after a run. Static stretches involves the gradual extension of a muscle group while sitting or standing. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. By doing this, you’ll help loosen up any tightness or cramping and speed up the recovery process.

#2: Refuel
Once you have finished your run, you have a two hour window to start refueling. During the run, your body has dug into the glycogen storage in your body. It’s very important to restore these levels within those two hours after a run. You can do this by eating something healthy that contains both carbohydrates and protein. Chicken and fish are good, but I like eating Nature Valley Protein Bars, because they’re fast and filling.

#3: Re-hydrate
In order for you and your muscles to heal properly, you need to consume lots of water. Dehydration decreases performance and can have several other detrimental effects on your body (including your kidneys). Immediately after your run keep drinking water even beyond satisfying your thirst. The longer you have run, the more you should drink. If you don’t consume enough fluids during and after a long run, your muscles can start to shrink, causing your joints to rub together. This can lead to even more discomfort. I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water everyday, whether I run or not.

#4: Rest
It’s easy to be enthusiastic when you have running goals that you want to reach. I get it, they’re important. It is equally as easy to feel guilty when you take a day off, but when you run, resting is essential. Resting is when your muscles rebuild and gain strength – without rest you may actually become weaker and do permanent damage. Tune into how you feel and recognize when you are becoming fatigued from over-training. Take a day off in between your runs if necessary. It won’t throw you off track and you will be better off for it.

#5: Massage
Nothing feels better than a massage, but after a nice long run, it feels even better. Having a massage or a deep tissue rub down can reduce tightness and achy feelings within your body.  Obviously most of us don’t have our own personal massage therapist, so I typically do this myself with a muscle roller stick. They are quite inexpensive and can work wonders.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to help you recover after a run, so feel free to try other things that may work for you. Use the Lazy Runner Recovery Regimen as a framework, and you’ll keep a healthy running habit.  If you’re a new runner, pay very close attention to this recovery regimen. The last thing you want to do is get burnt out due to soreness, or even worse, injure yourself.  Give your body the attention needed so it can keep going the distance you want it to. Hopefully this information was helpful to you.

Happy Running!

~ Lucas

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