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Easy Running Recovery Tips To Get You Back On The Pavement

Running can be super hard on the body, especially when you are just starting out. Here are some easy running recovery tips to get you back on the pavement!

I remember around 5 years ago I was completely spent and sore for days after running a simple 5k in the park.

Things are way different now that I have trained my body to run marathons, but I’ll never forget where I started. As I pushed past my former limits, recovery was key to being able to move to that next level, that longer distance. Here are a couple of ways that I was able to continue training by waking up with the freshest legs possible.

  1. Get a Roller: I used to think that rolling your body on a large item that reminds me of a pool noodle was ridiculous. It actually made no sense to me, until I started training. My roller has become my best friend. Using the roller within a couple of hours of running especially on my quads and my calves has made running the next day a bit easier vs. not rolling. It became a very faithful part of my recovery routine once I realized the stark difference of how much muscles felt the next day.
  2. Strength Training: This one was a game changer for me when training for my second marathon. While training for my first, I became burnt out with a run heavy training plan. The second time around I incorporated strength training 3x a week and usually the day before I run. It almost sounds crazy to run a long distance after doing leg presses and squats but for me, I am way more looser for a run the day after!
  3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Drinking a ton of water after a training run helps a LOT. Especially in the warm summer months. You body and muscles need water to aid in your recovery. So hydration is super key before AND after a long run in order to continue pushing hard in your training.

Recovery is a crucial component of any running regimen. Whether you’re a casual jogger or an elite marathoner, implementing effective recovery strategies can help reduce the risk of injury, alleviate muscle soreness, and enhance overall performance. Here are some of the best running recovery tips:

  1. Cool Down Properly:
    • After your run, spend 5-10 minutes walking and doing light stretching. This helps to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent blood from pooling in your legs.
  2. Hydration:
    • Drinking fluids post-run helps restore hydration levels. Replacing lost fluids aids muscle function and recovery. Electrolyte drinks can help replenish sodium and potassium lost through sweat.
  3. Protein and Carbohydrates:
    • Consuming a balanced meal or snack with protein and carbs within 30 minutes to two hours post-run can speed up muscle recovery and glycogen replenishment. Examples include a protein shake with a banana, or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
  4. Active Recovery:
    • Gentle activities like walking, cycling, or swimming on your non-running days can promote blood flow to the muscles, which can help flush out waste products and deliver essential nutrients for muscle repair.
  5. Stretching and Foam Rolling:
    • Regular stretching can improve flexibility and reduce muscle tightness. Foam rolling (self-myofascial release) can alleviate muscle soreness and release trigger points.
  6. Sleep:
    • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is when a lot of the body’s healing and repair processes occur. It’s essential for muscle recovery and overall well-being.
  7. Ice Baths or Contrast Baths:
    • While the evidence is still debated, some runners swear by ice baths to reduce muscle inflammation and soreness. Contrast baths, where you alternate between cold and warm water, can also be beneficial.
  8. Compression Garments:
    • Wearing compression socks or sleeves can potentially increase blood flow, reduce muscle soreness, and decrease swelling post-run.
  9. Stay Consistent with Easy Days:
    • If your training plan includes easy days, truly keep them easy. This allows your muscles to recover while still getting in some mileage.
  10. Massage:
  • A professional sports massage can help to alleviate muscle tightness, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.
  1. Listen to Your Body:
  • If you’re feeling exceptionally sore or fatigued, consider taking an extra rest day. Overtraining can lead to injuries and decreased performance.
  1. Stay on Top of Injuries:
  • Address any niggles or minor injuries promptly. Using the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) can be effective for minor sprains and strains.
  1. Cross-Training:
  • Incorporate strength training and flexibility exercises into your routine. This not only aids in recovery but also strengthens muscles, which can improve running efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries.
  1. Stay Updated on Footwear:
  • Running in worn-out shoes can lead to injuries. Ensure you’re wearing the right type of shoes for your gait and replace them every 300-500 miles, depending on wear.
  1. Nutrition:
  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains ensures your body has the necessary nutrients for repair and recovery.

By prioritizing recovery as much as the actual runs, you set yourself up for long-term running success, reduced risk of injury, and an overall more enjoyable running experience.

Related: 7 Easy Ways To JumpStart Your New Running Goals

What are some other awesome running posts to check out?

What are your running recovery tips?

Leslie Mitrovic

Saturday 29th of September 2018

Hey Nellie thank you for your post. I agree that after hydration using a roller might the 2nd best thing to recover. Ergonomic balls can also help to stretch core and relax lower back pain.

Jon Muller

Sunday 16th of September 2018

I love running because it's my simplest form of exercise. Thank you for the amazing recovery tips. I will keep these in mind and for sure I can enjoy running even more especially with friends.

Megan Jones

Thursday 13th of September 2018

It's interesting to read how your thought process has changed as you've been running longer. For me, so much of running and recovery is mental. It's listening to my body, giving it what it needs, and adapting as needed.


Wednesday 22nd of August 2018

Great tips - I always need the hydration reminder! Cognitively, I know it, but I can be so lazy about hydrating enough after a long run. I feel it the next day if I don't!

Janine Huldie

Wednesday 22nd of August 2018

While I am not a runner per say as you know, with all my lower back issues I actually do use a roller at the chiropractor and do agree that that is a big help in keeping the lower body and muscles more relaxed if nothing else. So could see how this could indeed help and benefit a runner.