Run for the Journey

Run for the Journey

How to Recover from your Long Run

It’s that time of year when many of us are in training for a Spring marathon and it’s time to start upping the mileage. 

Sometimes the challenge is not so much the long run itself but being able to recover quickly enough to do the other weekly sessions on our training plan.  Depending on the programme you’re following at least one of the weekday sessions may be hard and will call for fresh legs. 

So, what’s the best way to recover from your long run?  After decades of running this is what we’ve found most helpful. 

Drink some milk and change clothes

As soon as you get through the door after your long run, have a glass of milk or protein shake, and put on some warm clothing.  You should do this within 30 minutes of getting back home. 

The purpose is to replenish your body’s depleted glycogen levels, electrolytes, sodium and fluids. Changing into warm dry kit will help your circulation. 

Put on some recovery sandals

Put on some recovery slide sandals – such as those offered by Hoka or OOFOS.  These types of sandals feature arch support and foam that absorbs more shock than traditional shoes or sandals. They will help your feet and legs recover as you go about the rest of your day. 

Foam roll your legs

Whilst it’s tempting to slump on the sofa after a long run, you’d be better off doing a short foam roll.  Try foam rolling your quads, hip flexors, calves, hamstrings and IT band.  Continue to foam roll as frequently as you can during in the days after your long run. 

Note – When choosing a foam roller make sure that you do not buy one that is too harsh. In our experience some foam rollers on the market are way too hard and can wreak havoc on your calves. 

Have an ice bath

Consider taking an ice bath. An ice bath is certainly not pleasant but it’s one of the things some elite runners such as Paula Radcliffe swear by. In 2002 she attributed her 10,000 meter victory to her regular ice baths. Whilst there have been several scientific studies discrediting the use of ice baths to reduce muscle inflammation and stiffness, personally we have always felt that they helped.

Note - To make it more bearable wear a cosy fleece jacket on your top half and just immerse your legs in the icy water for a couple of minutes.   

Run a couple of easy miles the next day

Run a couple of miles at a super easy pace the day after your long run. Alternatively, a very gentle swim, spin on the bike or yoga can also reduce muscle inflammation and stiffness.  This will speed recovery from your long run faster than simply resting. 

What are your own recovery tips?  We’d love to add them to our blog, so please email with yours.

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