Ah. The long run. It’s the one day of the week where I torture and push myself to go longer and farther than I’ve ever gone before.
The day where I am exhausted beyond belief but so happy and satisfied.
The day where my muscles ache and I’m pretty sure I even limp part of the way home – all the while wondering what in the hell made me commit to this, but at the same time wondering how far I’m going to make it the next time.
Saturdays are those days for me.
I’ve been inching my way up from 12 km to 14 km and just this past weekend, I reached 17km! Yay for me!
I’m not in love with the long run, but I know that they’re an important part of the running schedule. They help my body to improve its endurance, increase aerobic capacity and also trains the mind to get used to the distance.
And just as important as long runs are to training, taking the time for recovery is just as important.
Here are five ways to recover from a long run:
1. Take a nap
Ahhh…nothing like the feel of cool, clean sheets after a long run.
Sleep for a couple of hours and you’ll feel as fresh as a newborn.
2. Drink copious amounts of water
Whether cool weather or not, it’s just as easy to get dehydrated when you’re running for a couple of hours.
I’m super thirsty after every run and you probably are too. Make sure to drink lots of water or even try some Gatorade.
3. Eat. Eat. And eat some more.
Your body needs to re-fuel after a long run. So a couple of hours afterwards, that’s just what I do.
I know that I’m supposed to be eating healthy carbs, protein and fat, but I unfortunately can’t seem to follow that rule.
If it’s not nailed down, I’ll eat it. There’s nothing like juicy burger, fries and a cold beer after the long run.
But seriously, make sure you refuel with a healthy meal one to two hours after the run. You’ll immediately feel how it improves your recovery process and your mood!
4. Become one with the foam roller
I dread foam rolling. It hurts. It hurts a lot! Sometimes it hurts so bad, I almost cry. Actually, sometimes I do cry. Imagine how it feels to have someone jamming their thumb into a big, gooey sore you have on your body. And the thumb doesn’t stop pushing in, even after you’re screaming in pain.
Well, that’s how foam rolling feels.
And as awful as it feels, I know that it’s that much better for me. We all get muscle knots and tightness when we’re working out. The only way to get rid of them is through an expensive, sports massage, where you’re beating the massage table with your fists in agony.
Or, you use a foam roller, where you inflict the same pain upon yourself. Since you should do this after every run, the least expensive option is the latter.
To keep my mind off the pain, I find a really good series to watch on TV while I’m rolling. I have foam rolled my way through The Arrow, The Flash and The Blacklist. I’m now working my way through Gotham. I love Netflix.
5. Target stubborn spots with a baseball
Sometimes the foam roller doesn’t get to the smaller, more stubborn spots – like deep knots on your glutes.
In this case, most people would recommend a tennis ball, but I find that the tennis ball is a little too soft and so I opt for a baseball instead. The baseball is just hard enough and helps to work out the knots – as long as you can stand the intermittent pain.
The only suggestion I have here is to watch Netflix and to BREATHE.
There you have it. My five things that I do to recover from a long run and be ready and raring to go for the next one.
What do you do for recovery?