Avoid them to prevent injury and feel your best
We’ve all done it…
You head out for your run, get a good sweat in, feel that wave of post-workout endorphins, and then come home and take a few minutes to rest. After all, you earned it.
But then a few minutes turns into 30, and 30 minutes turns into an hour, and before you know it, two hours have passed, and you’re still laying in the same position on the couch that you were when you first got back.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with resting. In fact, if you don’t take a break once in a while, your body will make that decision for you through burn out, muscle fatigue, sickness, etc.
However, if you fail to do a few crucial things after you run, you’ll hinder your recovery, and could also increase your chances of becoming injured.
So, before you end up down that path, stop yourself from doing the following three things after you run. That way, they won’t turn into bad habits that are impossible to break.
1. Forget the Little Things
What I’m really talking about here is foam rolling and stretching. While these tasks may seem annoying and monotonous, they are wonderful tools that promote recovery.
When I was in college, my cross-country coach made my entire team bring our stretch bands and rollers to every single practice so that we could all stretch and roll together when we finished each run.
He was smart — he knew that if we didn’t do it together, we might not do it at all. This strategy helped us hold each other accountable.
Plus, according to Runner’s World, foam rolling before and after a run:
“improves circulation, which gets the body ready for a workout and helps it recover afterward. And because rolling breaks down knots that limit range of motion, it preps your muscles for stretching.”
Here’s how they suggest rolling for maximum effectiveness:
“Roll slowly and when you find a tender spot, focus in on it by rolling back and forth until you feel it soften or release.”
Thus, stretching and rolling are powerful practices that you shouldn’t overlook. Even if you spend just 5–10 minutes stretching and rolling after your workout, you‘ll likely feel noticeably better on your run the following day.
2. Sit Around for Hours
This is the one that I’m most guilty of. I used to sit around for hours after workouts in college, and it was a near impossible habit to break.
I would grind through a hard tempo workout or a 12 mile long run on a Saturday, get back to my apartment, take a quick shower, and then immediately sit down to work on homework or go on my phone. Before I knew it, hours had already passed.
As a result, my body would get super stiff and tight, and I paid for it on my next run.
However, on the days when I moved around more after a hard workout, like when I headed out to run errands or did a shakeout walk/run in the evening, I felt immensely better on my run the next day.
And according to Runner’s World:
“Going for a “pure walk” — no running at all — allows your body to make small adaptations that strengthen your feet, knees and hips…Long, brisk walks can help boost your endurance and give your joints and muscles a break, which can eliminate the aches and pains caused by running.”
Therefore, even though you might be tired after your run, a light walk in the evening or even the next day could benefit your body immensely.
3. Fail to Refuel With This Snack
Many people fail to realize the importance of the one to two-hour refueling window following a run. I wasn’t even aware of it until I got to college.
It turns out, this specific window of time is incredibly crucial to get some fuel in you. RD, sports dietitian and personal trainer Gabriela Barreto states:
“The ideal window for refueling after a long run is within 30 minutes, Barreto says. Try to eat a snack or meal with a mix of high-fiber carbohydrates and protein.”
Therefore, not only is the content of what you eat important but so is the timing. The worst thing you can do is get back from a run and not eat for hours, even if your appetite is suppressed and you really don’t feel like consuming anything.
If you need to, make a carbohydrate and protein-packed snack in advance so you have it waiting for you when you return from your run, like these vanilla protein muffins. Or, you can drink your fuel in the form of a smoothie bowl, like this refreshing açaí smoothie bowl.
But, no matter what you choose to refuel with, the fact remains that you do need to consume something after you break your body down through hard exercise.
What you do after a run is just as important as the run itself. Even though things like stretching and rolling may seem insignificant, they make a huge difference when performed day after day.
When I was trying to squeeze every ounce out of myself to perform as well as I could in college, the little things like refueling properly after a run helped me shave off those precious few seconds and stay injury-free.
Although it may be enticing to skip that five minutes of rolling or your post-run snack, don’t give in to temptation. You’ll be grateful you stayed disciplined when you are out there feeling great, crushing your goals, and running consistently month after month.
Source : Medium