Whether you’re running to lose weight or to improve your marathon time, proper recovery is vital. In fact, recovery is key to enhanced running performance and consistency. If you skip recovery, you’ll only increase the likelihood of injuries and overtraining later on. Therefore, to get the most out of your training program, you need to follow the right recovery strategies. Otherwise you may suffer the dire consequences.
As a result, here are 5 running training guidelines that will help you run at your best while providing your body with needed recovery for better (mental and physical) performance.
Running Training Guideline #1 – Diet and Running Recovery
Proper diet can help ensure faster recovery through the right ingestion of macronutrients, such as protein, carbs and fats, micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals and lastly but not least, hydration. These 3 components are key to speeding up the recovery process and enhancing performance.
As a result, make sure to digest the right foods immediately after a running session. Your muscles are designed to absorb nutrients at a greater rate just after exercise is finished. This is what is known as the recovery window. The sooner you eat, the faster your muscles will be able to replenish their energy tanks for the next workout. Aim for a healthy mix of carbs, lean protein, fats and plenty of water.
Running Training Guideline #2 – Ice Therapy
Cold water can help you recover faster. Cold helps you alleviate swelling, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve your circulation and reduce inflammation. After a run, you can soak yourself in a cold shower, or you can also run a cold hose over your legs, while gently stretching and massaging your muscles. In addition, you can apply ice on sore muscles to reduce the pain and swelling. Ice the entire sore area for 5-10 minutes, 3 times per day.
Running Training Guideline #3 – Stretch Out
Though stretching before a workout can lead to muscle injury, stretching afterwards is a must. A proper stretching routine can help you reduce fatigue, remove lactic acid from your muscles, and increase your flexibility and joint motion, thus improving your athletic performance and overall well-being.
Make sure to slowly ease into your stretching routine, otherwise, you run the risk of inflicting harm on your muscles. Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calf muscles and lower back after a decent cool down. Hold every stretch for no more than 30 seconds and breathe deeply to release any tension or discomfort.
Running Training Guideline #4 – Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep is a sure-fire way to impede recovery and performance. Without ample sleep, recovery is impossible. Hence getting plenty of sleep will help you recover faster and sooner. As a result, make sure to meet your sleep needs. How much sleep you may need depends mostly on your physical activity and body type. For instance, if you have to stay up the whole day after a hard training session, then you’re going to need more sleep and 6 hours per night won’t do the trick.
As a result, aim to get at least 8 hour of quality sleep every night. Napping during the daytime can also help. Aim for 15-35 minutes for a nap, just don’t sleep too much. Short naps are the way to go.
Running Training Guideline #5 – Schedule a Recovery Phase
Planning recovery time within your training schedule can help you take the guesswork out of the training program. Regardless of your running goals, you will surely need a recovery week so your body can properly readjust itself to the training load. The time you spend running is just as vital as the time you spend on recovery.
Therefore, make sure to cut back on your running mileage or cross-train every three or four weeks. This recovery formula is enough to help your body adapt the training that’s done over the past weeks and prepare for the training to come. Not only that, you will be back after a recovery week with a fresh mind and new enthusiasm to take more. Recovery is both physical and mental.