Here's my list of things to focus on after a workout...
1. Stretch stretch and stretch some more! I am preaching to myself when I say this, but it is sooo important! Especially if you have niggles or tension areas that you know will really benefit from a good stretch-a-thon! If you only have an hour to workout you need to include about 5-10 mins for stretching as you will regret it if you don't - speaking from experience! It will help you with your next workout and you won't feel like you need your zimmer frame for the rest of the day! If you are a foam roller, this is great too, get on that roller and roll!
2. Don't ignore nutrition... The article mentioned above says this:
"John L. Ivy, MD, believes most runners don’t eat enough after finishing a big race. To limit muscle damage and soreness, have a recovery drink or energy bar in the first few minutes after crossing the finish line and eat a high-protein meal two hours afterward."
Too true! It is so easy to think that after you have done a big run or workout that you can get on the donuts and fizzy drinks... NO!! Get a good mix of carbs and protein after a hard or long workout to give you enough energy to keep going through the day. If you don't feel like eating, drink the protein and carbs - there are tons of great energy and protein drinks out there, trial some out. I love my home made smoothies with a mix of carbs and protein to keep me going.
3. Don't get too ambitious thinking you are a machine and go and do more, back to back hard and long workouts/runs. If you have a run or workout that goes really well and felt easy, it is an easy trap to fall into thinking that you can go out there and smash another one straight away. Even though you probably could, your body needs the rest and recovery. Thus the need for your next workout to be easier and lower intensity, before you can go and do another gut-wrenching one. You are a machine but you need to BE SENSIBLE! Another thing I have been guilty of and then regretting later on when injury or major fatigue strikes.
4. Make sure you stay well hydrated - with water and sports drinks if it has been a particularly long or intensive training session.
5. Recover actively: After a long run or race don't think that you get to sit on the couch for a week, your body will not like this. Walk it out or go for some laps at the pools or do some nice slow and short runs to keep your body moving. Enjoy the active recover stage, it's a goodie!
6. Get a massage or have an ice bath - whichever of these takes your fancy. I am not an ice bath person (but perhaps should become one), but love me a good, strong massage.
Remember these tips next time you have an intensive training session or long run.
What are your major running faux pas? How do you best like to recover?
Any good recovery tips or rules I haven't mentioned here? Would love the hear them!