I’ve been consistently doing long runs on the weekend for over two years now. I usually am doing a long run every weekend, even when I’m not training for anything specific. Some weekends I skip because I’m traveling or people are in town or I want to go surfing or whatever, but for the most part, I’m logging double-digits on Saturday or Sunday mornings.
Becoming a smarter runner has really been important to me over the past year as well. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my running and I don’t spend the next two days sore and unable to walk down stairs after a race because I have focused on recovering properly. My tips on how to recover from a long run focus on things that are easy to overlook or forget – we all know to eat after a run, nap if necessary and to drink lots of water.
In honor of my marathon this weekend, here are my tips on how to recover from a long run.
How to Recover From a Long Run
- Drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing your run
Sometimes, especially after races, I stupidly don’t drink a protein shake or eat a protein heavy snack or meal pretty quickly after I’m done running. The next day I am SORE.My go-to shake is a scoop of Vega Sport Performance Protein (either chocolate, mocha or vanilla – all delicious!) in a mixture of almond milk and coconut water. I use the coconut water for electrolytes and extra hydration. Sometimes I’ll put in a scoop of green powder (I love Skoop’s A Game) as well. This protein shake is basically the reason I do long runs and track workouts – so I have an excuse to drink it.Alternatively, make a recovery smoothie like my Chocolate Cherry Recovery Smoothie.
- Be like Ludacris and roll out
The foam roller is a distance runner’s best friend. I know it hurts but my muscles are always so tight, it actually feels really good. I use this Rumble Roller which I think is a huge improvement on the normal foam roller. I also have a Stick which is great alternative to a foam roller when you have a really stiff achilles or don’t want to get off the couch.
- Take an ice bath
I really only do the whole ice bath thingfor20milers because… yikes. Also I feel real guilty getting in the tub because of the California drought. I know this isn’t enough ice but I have two ice trays and I don’t even know where to buy ice at in my neighborhood. But still – it’s getting my muscles in cold water and reducing inflammation so there you go.
- Replenish electrolytes
Back in my “fear all things with calories and added things” I would never replenish electrolytes, except with coconut water. That is still my favorite way to get electrolytes, but I’ve also started supplementing it with other things. I’ve been a big fan of Nuun for a while and recently I tried SOS Rehydrate. I loved SOS because it has less sugar than coconut water and has some salt so it helps with that side of replenishment as well. You have to mix it to the exact amount of water it calls for so don’t over dilute it.
My friends at Vega recently sent me the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator to try. Chrissy and I each drank one after a 12-miler prior to going to wine country (#priorities). It wasn’t ideal but between the two of us, we drank at least two bottles of wine Saturday and Sunday woke up pretty bright-eyes and bushy tailed, besides having the most indulgent day ever. Needless to say, I’ll be drinking one after the marathon this weekend.
- Wear compression socks/sleeves
I know, they aren’t the cutest but they totally help. I swear. Sometimes my friends remind me to wear them because my feet swell and it’s real cute of them. In Pittsburgh I wore hot pink calf sleeves and people would always think they were actual socks or a fashion statement which was outrageous.
Chat with me:
How do you recover from a long run? Do you have any tips I missed?