Running Recovery Tips

Beginners' Running Advice & Motivation,Running Injuries: Tips & Inspiration
Running Recovery Tips

Have you ever experienced sore and stiff muscles after a race or run? It's totally normal, and it's called delayed onset muscle soreness. You might feel it 24-48 hours after your workout. No worries though, there are different ways to recover from it. You just have to find which method works best for you. Recovering properly after a workout can really help you prepare for your next training session.


What Is Running Recovery?

Recovery is ensuring the body can repair itself, so you can perform and push towards a powerful maximum the next time you compete or train. Your recovery initially begins from the moment you begin your cool-down. After a running session, preparing your muscles and joints for the next session should be the first thought in mind. Therefore stretching, nutrition, compression gear, massage and ice baths can be exceptionally helpful in aiding recovery for any upcoming events.

Nutrition for Recovery

After a rigorous workout, part of a great and effective recovery is organising and preparing what you're going refuel your body with – ideally before you've begun your race or training! This will ensure your body gets the required nutrients immediately. This is something many of us often forget or don't have time to do – in fact, not many of us realise how vital nutrition and diet is to our body's recovery.

Your muscles will need a relatively high carbohydrate and protein intake almost immediately post workout. Ideally, protein should be eaten within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. Replenishing and repairing muscle tears, protein will aid muscle recovery and help rebuild for the next session. Carbohydrates will replenish your body's glycogen stores, which are the source of your energy. It's generally good to prioritise proper food in addition to supplements, as it offers more nutrients.

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SIS Protein 20 Vegan Bar

SIS Protein 20 Vegan Bar
Protein Running Bars
£2.90

SIS Protein Bar

SIS Protein Bar
Running Energy & Recovery Bars
£2.75

Clif Bar Nut Butter Filled

Clif Bar Nut Butter Filled
Running Energy & Recovery Bars
£2.79

SIS REGO Rapid Recovery Protein Drink 500g

SIS REGO Rapid Recovery Protein Drink 500g
Running Recovery Drinks
£20

Stretching For Recovery

This is often an area that is neglected, therefore the next day when we wake up stiff, sore and fatigued muscles greet us! This is easily preventable. Stretching and cooling down after exercise is even more important than the warm up.

Our muscles are like elastic bands in a sense, so when we are nice and warm our muscles become lengthened, and once we become cool they shorten. So stretching whilst your body is still warm is the perfect opportunity for a deep stretch – it can really improve muscle flexibility and range of movement.

Cooling down should consist of some very light gentle jogging, and some dynamic stretches will slowly allow the muscles to loosen, preparing them for a lengthier static stretching session afterwards. Aim to hold static stretches between 20-40 seconds.

Applying a small amount of the Sportlab Cool Down cream or the UP Balm (see below) will gently loosen up areas that are more prone to aches or soreness, before you continue with the necessary stretches.

Get More Stretching Advice

Fitness-Mad Warrior Yoga Mat II 4mm

Fitness-Mad Warrior Yoga Mat II 4mm
Muscle Recovery & Strengthening
£20

Sportlab Cooldown Cream

Sportlab Cooldown Cream
Muscle Recovery & Strengthening
£14.60

U.P. Sport Balm - Extra Strong

U.P. Sport Balm - Extra Strong
Foam Rollers & Massage Aids
£5

Oofos OOahh Slide

Oofos OOahh Slide
Unisex Sports Slide
£50

Massage For Recovery

Sports massage and deep tissue massage form an effective way to break up and reduce muscle tightness. These aids are a much cheaper alternative to a sports massage! But any type of deep tissue massage will break down any niggling knots.

The stick-type of aid, or a roller like the Grid, are great for ironing out big muscle groups like those in the calves and hamstrings. A massage ball is also great for the smaller muscle groups, such as in the feet or back, as well as pinpointing knots in the legs.

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Trigger Point MBX Massage Ball

Trigger Point MBX Massage Ball
Foam Rollers & Massage Aids
£18.99

Fitness-Mad Cork Massage Ball 7cm

Fitness-Mad Cork Massage Ball 7cm
Foam Rollers & Massage Aids
£5.99

Grid STK X

Grid STK X
Foam Rollers & Massage Aids
£39.99

Trigger Point The Grid Foam Roller

Trigger Point The Grid Foam Roller
Foam Rollers & Massage Aids
£37

Compression For Recovery

Something you might like to consider trying is compression gear. This helps to promote recovery, as it provides the body with sustained blood flow, delivering oxygen faster to the muscles. Try a pair of compression calf guards when your muscles feel fatigued.

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Pressio Power Calf Guards

Pressio Power Calf Guards
Compression Running Socks & Calf Guards
£40

Compressport Calf Sleeves R2 3.0

Compressport Calf Sleeves R2 3.0
Compression Running Socks & Calf Guards
£35

Compressport Full Socks Run

Compressport Full Socks Run
Running Socks
£35

Compressport Arm Force Ultralight Sleeve

Compressport Arm Force Ultralight Sleeve
Running Arm Sleeves
£30

Ice Baths For Recovery

An ice bath is one of the most effective ways to recover after a long run. It helps to ensure the muscles, tendons, and nerves return to their normal state. Gradually removing waste and lactic acid build up, and allowing the body to function better. The cool temperature allows the blood vessels to constrict and flush away the lactic. Inflammation and swelling will also be lessened as a result of cooling the body's core temperature.

How to have an ice bath

  • A half-filled tub of cold water (waist-hip height) at a temperature of around 60 degrees
  • Two bags of ice cubes. Ice baths are much more bearable if we allow our body temperature to adapt to the coolness of just the cold water initially - we don't want to shock our bodies, which is what would usually happen if we get straight into a tub of ice filled water!
  • Remain in the bath for around 10-20 mins
  • The upper body can be kept warm by using a towel or hoodie
  • Hot beverages are also an added comfort to pass time!

Other Cold Therapy

Understandably, not all of us will want to plunge ourselves into the depths of an ice bath, so another alternative we recommend is using the UP Freeze Spray. This uses cold therapy technique, and can be used during or immediately after exercise. Ideal for muscle pain, joint pain, sprains, strains and minor sports injuries, it works in a similar way to an ice pack. The cold causes your blood vessels to constrict in the affected area, minimising damage and reducing swelling all at once.

U.P. Freeze Spray
£9.00


This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Any exercises are ones we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises or advice, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

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