Post-Run Recovery – What Really Matters
After intense training or hard races, our runners’ legs are asking for full recovery. Your body needs rest days and proper recovery to perform on point again the next time you lace up and sweat. This is the only way you’ll become more powerful for your next workout. To make sure that you will benefit from your recovery, it’s important to know a couple of things about recovery for runners in general. How long should you rest between workouts? What kind of nutrition is best for recovery? Find all the answers in today’s article so you can make the most of your post-workout recovery.
Supercompensation in sport science
When’s the right time to go back to training after your recovery? The supercompensation model can really help you get a good idea of the perfect balance between intensity and recovery. Supercompensation is your body’s ability to perform at a higher level or capacity than it was prior to the training period.
It is important for a runner to know that the next workout has to follow within the time of the highest supercompensation for the body to be able to adjust itself to a higher level of fitness during the next training session.
Good to know:
Every workout has to be followed by a perfectly planned recovery period.
Different intensities within your running sessions require different types and lengths of recovery. This also means that the length of supercompensation will be different every single time depending on your workout intensity. Our muscles will recover slower or faster. A very common mistake for running beginners is to go back to training too early without proper recovery. My recommendation is at least 2 or even 3 full rest days to give your body time to recover.
“It happened to me as well when I started running. I didn’t know how important it was to allow enough time for recovery. This caused injuries, stress fractures, and unplanned running breaks due to my injuries,” explains Running Coach Sabrina Wieser. We easily forget that our system needs time to repair the muscles, joints, and tendons.
How to actively boost your post-run recovery
Your recovery starts 30 minutes after your training. You have to start with hydration to refill your fluid balance. Check your fluid requirements with this simple calculator:
Carbs, protein and sodium are also important after your workout to boost your recovery. Have a balanced meal of carbohydrates, fats, and protein about one hour after running.
Before bed, magnesium does help a lot to support your system. Our body needs minerals that we sweat out when we run. Speaking of sleep, it’s an important factor for excellent recovery. Only runners who sleep enough will give their bodies the time to fully recover from the training.
Of course, there are ways to actively support your body as well. Enjoy a great massage or go to the sauna. Especially after races, this is a well-deserved and amazing way to show self-love.
Supplements – do you need them?
There are a couple of supplements that are important for recovery after running, like glutamine, BCAAs, GABA, creatine and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
“I have had excellent experiences with glutamine and BCAAs so far. Both supplements do help me a lot when it comes to my recovery process,” says Sabrina. Glutamine and BCAA’s support the body when there are deficiencies. Creatine gives you energy. The neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) will help you if you are suffering from sleep issues. But of course, a healthy diet is always the key to success and much more important than any supplements you will find at the pharmacy or fitness nutrition shops.
What your lifestyle tells you about your recovery
Every runner has their own individual lifestyle. If someone is constantly stressed out, exhausted, sluggish, or restless, it is almost impossible to fully recover. Mental health is as important as your physical health. Alcohol and running are not a good combination because too much alcohol slows down your recovery. Why? Instead of recovering, your body has to deal with the alcohol break down in your system.
How do you recognize proper recovery
Last but not least, it’s important to determine whether the recovery phases that you plan between your workouts are sufficient for your body. The key indicator here is your well-being. If you feel wiped out and overwhelmed, you might be overtraining. But also keep in mind that your appetite can be another a good indicator that your body is recovering well, as well as a normal heart rate and ultimately a completely positive outlook on life.
About Sabrina Wieser:
Sabrina is known as runningbrina and works as a certified running coach in New York City. She has been combining her running training with active bodybuilding for the past two years. She shares her experiences and training and nutrition tips on her blog as well as on Instagram.