As the outdoor season approaches, hard sessions are in full swing. Have you ever had an amazing session, woken up the next day and everything hurts. You suddenly find yourself needing to take two to three days off? It’s understandable as running (especially on the roads) and intense gym sessions, are taxing on the body.
I thought I would share today my recovery tips that I implement to help me recover as soon as possible. Making sure you recover properly is essential, if your body is full of aches and pains, you will find it harder to stay consistent.
COOL DOWN & STRETCH
After every training session, I try and have at least 10 minutes of cool down. Especially after a hard track session, I make sure to do a soft jog to get the lactate out of my legs as soon as possible. When it comes to stretching, you may have come across different opinions on the subject. Personally I don’t stretch before a workout, I tend to warm up with some dynamic exercises. However If I notice certain muscle groups starting to feel tense, I will focus my attention on these groups post training. Cooling down your muscles after a workout is really important for their recovery, so find a routine that works for you.
FOOD IS FUEL: POST WORKOUT NUTRITION
After hard workout sessions, it’s super important to refuel in order to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. I try to eat a nutritious meal, after my workouts with a correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. I tend to eat tuna, chicken or eggs as my source of protein post workout, with a mix of vegetables, red lentil pasta or rice.
Making sure I eat enough protein and carbs is vital for recovery. It stimulates muscle protein synthesis, improves recovery and enhance performance for my next workout, or simply to be able to get on with the rest of my day.
HYDRATION AND EQUINOX KOMBUCHA
Our bodies sweat as a cooling mechanism, and it’s vital that we replenish and hydrate after our workouts. We each have different and unique hydration needs. I get extremely thirsty during my workouts. If I’m not conscious about drinking enough I get extremely disorientated, and feel sick. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. I always carry with me my big reusable water bottle, to the gym and to the track. During nice warm sunny days, it can sometimes be a struggle to get in enough water, and I fancy something a little different.
I love relaxing post workout, sat on the grass at the track sipping on my Equinox Kombucha. They provide great hydration packed with vitamins and electrolytes without any of the nasty sweeteners of other sports drinks. I purchase them at my local waitrose, or planet organic.
Chances are you’ve probably seen across social media or at your local track, a pro athlete or a local runner jump in a bath post-run. I’ve been doing ice baths for as long as you remember. But definitely not as glamorous as the ones you may have seen across London or in magazines. At my local track, we would fill wheely bins with water, and freeze tupperwares to stand inside. At home me and Pablo will fill the tub with ice, or simply fill a bucket with ice to put our feet in. As we both suffer with sore feet post training. If this isn’t possible on a busy day, and I feel sore I will do temperature swaps in the shower. I will alternate between freezing cold and hot, this helps blood circulation and for a few quick seconds after my legs feel new again.
FOAM ROLLING & SELF-MYOFASCIAL MANIPULATION
Foam rolling increases blood flow and releases muscle tightness, that can interfere with optimal performance. If you have ever used a foam roller of fascia blaster, you will be fully aware of the feeling, of it being your worst and best friend all in one. What is the Fascia? The fascia is the spiderweb of tissue that holds your body together, it surrounds our organs, muscles, bones and ligaments. In recent weeks I’ve been using the Fascia Blaster by Ashley Black to help aid my muscle recovery. One thing to note while a fascia blaster can be beneficial for exercise, for someone who is using it for purely cosmetic reasons, the results are doubtful.
In summary here are some things I try and do for optimal recovery:
- Hydrate as soon as possible after your workout.
- Stretch and roll out tight knots.
- Eat a healthy nourishing meal
- Take an ice bath
- Get plenty of sleep