How to Recover From a Long Run

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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.
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My favorite protein shake ingredients.

  • 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.
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ROLL OUT.

  • 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.

    how-to-recover-from-a-long-run-almost-getting-it-together

    My ice bath which also consisted of drinking water, drinking my protein shake and drinking SOS Replenish. #multitasking #allthefluids

  • 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.

    how-to-recover-from-a-long-run-almost-getting-it-together

    Trying SOS Replenish after my 20-miler two weeks ago – definitely recommend!

    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?

52 comments on “How to Recover From a Long Run

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on April 28, 2015 6:49 am

Legs up the wall pose is a big one for me. It helps you recirculate your blod without it just chilling out there. And a margarita helps too :D

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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on April 28, 2015 10:57 am

Good one, Susie! :)
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:32 pm

I have done both in the past 48 hours ;)

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Heather @Fit n Cookies on April 28, 2015 7:26 am

I stretch and then usually relax a bit the rest of the day to give my legs a chance to recover. I try to either run the next day (slow recovery jog) or at least walk and find it gets the lactic acid out of my legs. But! I love compression socks the best. They are magical. It’s funny, when I’m done training for a race, or getting near the end, I am always excited to sleep in and not have long runs. But, then I continue long runs because it makes my weekend!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:32 pm

Same!! There is something so rewarding about being done with a long run :)

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Bri on April 28, 2015 8:01 am

I know I should foam roll/ice bath it up, but never do. I try to do a few stretches after but end up needing to get on with my day and will either be grocery shopping, cleaning or walking my dog to recover, haha!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:31 pm

I think walking and moving definitely helps!!

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Shashi at RunninSrilankan on April 28, 2015 9:05 am

Cassandra – these are fabulous tips – my roller is gathering dust and seeing I am always so achy even after a mile run, I clearly need to use it – so thanks for this post and reminder! What I do do after a workout is take a hot shower and -so this part is totally weird – but I like to do basic stretches at the same time. All that hot water helps loosen things up -for me, at least! Hope that’s not TMI! :)

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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:31 pm

I STRETCH IN THE SHOWER TOO!!!! I thought I was the only one :

And there is no TMI on AGIT ;)

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Sarah @pickyrunner on April 28, 2015 9:37 am

I love long runs but I am the WORST at recovery. I never foam roll even though I know I need to and I’m still working on the electrolytes thing. Recovery is so important and I feel like it’s something that’s often overlooked. Thanks for sharing and CANNOT WAIT to hear all about your marathon!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:31 pm

Recovery has definitely helped me after the marathon… and I already want to run again, who am I?!

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Victoria on April 28, 2015 10:20 am

I do all these things, one thing more I like to do is take a 1 to 2 mile walk that evening to kind of loosen things up. I find I wake up less stiff the next day.
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:30 pm

Yes, that tip definitely helps too!

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Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon on April 28, 2015 10:40 am

I need to keep foam rolling in my routine more often. I have one but just don’t set up a good spot for it!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:30 pm

Living in a studio, I don’t have much space for mine but I find if I leave it out I actually use it… if it’s under my bed I forget it’s there haha

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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on April 28, 2015 10:48 am

Bahaha be like Ludacris and roll out made me laugh out loud. Great post!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:30 pm

Thank you!!

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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on April 28, 2015 10:56 am

Hi Cassie! I’m a slave to my RumbleRoller and to protein shakes after a workout. While I don’t run long distances, I do appreciate all of your thoughts here. I’d also recommend using a golf ball under your feet to recover and stretch the foot muscles! Just roll it around under there!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:29 pm

THANK YOU FOR THAT TIP!!! I have been using it the past week for sure!!! xo

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on April 28, 2015 10:59 am

I had always come back and hopped right in the shower and drank a ton! Then it was stretching and foam rolling and yes! Of course compression socks! All day and night!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:29 pm

I sleep in mine!!

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Kristen from The Road to Domestication on April 28, 2015 11:19 am

Fantastic tips! I’m just now starting to want to get into running…I don’t know when my first LONG run will be…but I’ll probably need all these ideas after a short run LOL
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:29 pm

Yes, I think beginners need to take care of themselves just as much… I remember ice bathing after cross-country in high school and that was maybe at most 5-6 miles!

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Émilie on April 28, 2015 11:28 am

Stetching is the one thing I have to do after I run! It just feels so good!
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Jo @ Living Mint Green on April 28, 2015 11:39 am

Love your tips – I have to agree that I’m such a smarter runner now – especially when it comes to hydration. I didn’t start using electrolyte tablets until a couple years ago and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made in my lack of muscle soreness the next day.
I’m not a big fan of gimmicky pre-post workout supplement/food stuff, but I swear by NUUN tablets, compression sleeves (I even wear them to bed), good nutrition and LOTS of sleep!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:25 pm

I need to be better at sleep… I’m an awful sleeper.

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Jo @ Living Mint Green on April 28, 2015 11:39 am

Oh, I pop a magnesium supplement before bed too! :) haha

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Trevor E on April 28, 2015 1:56 pm

Wicked tips! Hydration was the biggest lesson I learned… That, and recovering properly. Recovery Accelerator and actually EATING after a run/workout has made such a huge difference for me.

So glad that I found your blog!! Woot woot!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:24 pm

THANK YOU TREVOR!!! I’ve been sharing the recovery accelerator with my runner friends and we’re all fans!!! You’re the best :)

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Larissa on April 28, 2015 4:43 pm

I was always a fan of a shake and rolling after a hard run. (I’ve focused less on running and more on other activities recently). Never tried an ice bath, but I probably should have! A good yoga class to really warm up and stretch out always feels great on sore legs, too.
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:24 pm

Yes, love yoga after long runs!!

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Whitney on April 28, 2015 7:42 pm

Okay, I know I need to foam roll. Thank you for reminding me. I must invest. Also, I have been wanting to try Vega! I use Plant Fusion right now. :)
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:23 pm

Try VEGA!!! You’ll love it. Or come visit me and I have lots and lots I will share with you :)

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Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home on April 28, 2015 9:10 pm

Great tips. Altho I will take a pass on the ice bath!!!
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Ariana on April 28, 2015 11:05 pm

These are all awesome tips! Vega is my favourite, for pre-workout, intra-workout, and post-workout! I haven’t done the ice bath thing yet, but I do love a good epsom salt bath :)
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:20 pm

I have done epsom salts because I retain water so much… love them!

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Chris on April 29, 2015 9:13 am

That Penguins glass tho!!

I definitely go for a protein shake promptly after a workout, and I like to use compression for recovery when I sleep if I know a certain area is bound to be sore. Oh and yes, foam roll/lacrosse ball ALL THE PLACES!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:21 pm

Things we have in common: love of foam rolling.

I need to get a lacrosse ball… a tennis ball is not cutting it.

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Angie on April 29, 2015 10:37 am

Great tips! Pinning this for sure. Not that I ever will need anything for a 20 miler, but even on smaller distances those are great tips. That recovery smoothie sounds yum! Makes me want to run just to have something recover from!
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:22 pm

Yes, I definitely use these for anything 12 miles or more!!

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Kim on April 30, 2015 5:15 pm

Great tips!!!!!
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[…] How to Recover From a Long Run via Almost Getting it Together. Great tips to help you become a smarter runner and bounce back from those long runs faster. […]

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Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl on May 3, 2015 8:47 am

Thanks for these tips! I just decided I want to go for my first marathon in fall 2016 (I’m trying for NYC’s 9+1 program that you need to do this year) and I already try to do my long runs of 8-10 miles every weekend anyway.
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:09 pm

So jealous, I would love to run NYC!

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She Rocks Fitness on May 3, 2015 3:53 pm

These are all such great tips! I am so bad with refueling after long runs. I honestly have no appetite, but I need to get better at this. Thanks for sharing!
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Marj @ Fit Biscuits on May 3, 2015 7:58 pm

Great tips! I foam roll and get an ice bath to help recover, just like you mentioned. I learned that they really helped a lot with speeding up the recovery period.
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Cassie on May 4, 2015 11:05 pm

I did both today and yesterday and feel a lot better!

Bean Bytes 139 on May 4, 2015 12:01 am

[…] How To Recover From A Long Run via Almost Getting It Together […]

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Henry Nielson on May 5, 2015 10:48 pm

Great tips. I love to foam roll. It seems to help my muscle heal a lot faster so I can train again. Thanks for the other tips.

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Cassie on May 8, 2015 9:18 am

Same! Definitely hurts so good :)

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Kate on July 18, 2016 6:31 am

i love my foam roller, i actually use it after cycling sessions, and that includes cycling home from work. I have an electric bike but it still pushes me to work hard.

[…] miles that make coconut water a necessary part of my life. I love mixing it in my protein shake post long-run for rehydration. I also drink it the night before a race and the morning before a race for extra […]

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