Post-run tips: What to do to maximise your results
Here are some key things to do after your run to look after your body
Starting a running regime? Whether you're a beginner or a marathon expert, do these four things post-run
1. DRINK UP
As well as staying hydrated during a run in order to prevent injuries, cramping, and early fatigue, it is also important to rehydrate after you have finished, as well as maintaining your fluid intake throughout the rest of the day. If you are training for a marathon this is even more important - marathon runners can lose up to 5% of their total body weight during the race, or around four to five liters of fluids on average.
To avoid dehydration and help the body replenish its reserves be sure to drink plenty of fluids in the hours after your run, whether you prefer water, fruit juice or sports recovery drinks. You should also avoid alcohol if you really want to reach peak performance. Not only will it dehydrate you, but celebrity trainer David Kirsch also adds that "during a wellness program there is no room for hangovers. You need to be fresh, focused, and on top of your game to achieve the desired results."
2. GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
Dr. Andrew Murray, who works predominantly with runners but also swimmers and cyclists, says that the one thing they all have in common is they are "world class sleepers." He recommends at least seven hours a night to reduce the risk of infection and stay healthy, plus a good night's sleep is possibly the best way for your body to repair itself after exercise. Kirsch also adds that skimping on sleep "will sabotage your hard-earned workout gains," so to get the most out of your run, as well as reach your true running potential in your next one, make sure you prioritize sleep.
3. REFUEL YOUR MUSCLES
Dalton Wong, trainer to Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence and founder of TwentyTwo Training advises a post-run combination of protein to repair, fat to help you feel full, and carbs to fuel the body. He recommends a protein smoothie or a proper meal between 1 hour to 90 minutes after your run, and nuts, seeds, and/or an apple as good options for snack until you can eat a real meal. Dr. Murray agrees, also recommending a ratio of three portions of carbs to one portion of protein within the hour after your run. Pasta or a baked potato with tuna, a chicken sandwich, eggs or pulses are all good choices.
4. STRETCH IT OUT
Although Dr. Murray says you don't need to do a specific warm-up, just something to get you moving a little and ready for running, he does recommend a cool down, especially when you have done a more intense, longer run. Cooling down and stretching is a key step in any running plan to aid recovery, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injuries.
Foam rolling can also be useful, not only straight after your run but also the day after and days following if you're still feeling sore. It can also be particularly helpful when combined with stretching because it helps break up adhesions, which allows for a better and deeper stretch.