Recovery in running is one of the major topics if we want to make progress. One of the main running tips that can be given to a runner, whether he is a beginner or an experienced runner, is never to neglect recovery! In the euphoria of an intense training period where fitness is good, it is easy to get carried away by your desire and leave the recovery aspect a little aside. This is the best way to annihilate the effects of training.
No, or little progress, or worse, leave room for an injury. The runner who wants to progress must include recovery in his training. Because yes, everything related to recovery is an integral part of training as I have explained here. On the program of this article, my habits concerning recovery, my 10 tips for a good recovery, in short everything I have learned in 10 years of running. Because it is a more complex subject than it seems....
Recovery in running = Progress!
Yes, I'm saying, recovery must be part of his training plan. Because it is the key to a good progression. If there is one thing you need to remember in this post, it is this one, so I repeat: Recovery is the key to progress. Why? Why? Because it is precisely when you rest that you progress and not when you train.
Training does not make us stronger, it weakens us. Because training means using your body and resources at an unusual intensity. This has many negative effects such as the degradation of our cells or muscles. As a result, the more intense a workout is, the weaker you become!
Then why are we training? This is where recovery in running takes on its full role. Because while you are resting, the body repairs and above all adapts to be stronger during the next training session. The human body is an exceptional machine that is constantly evolving, according to the principle of adaptation. In fact, with each workout, the body adapts itself according to a process of overcompensation that allows it to be stronger at the next workout.
10 essential tips for a good recovery
Recovery involves a whole bunch of more or less nice techniques, we could make pages and pages out of them and it's easy to get lost. I summarize the recovery techniques that I find most effective for running, the least constraining also because we are only passionate amateurs, we do not want to spend hours there. The proposed techniques are simple to implement and therefore do not take too long.
We start with the essential elements of recovery, those without which it will be difficult to envisage progress in the long term. No long speeches about them, you probably already know them, you may even look up to heaven when you see them... Yet it is the key to my progress in recent years, I am convinced! But a reminder is never too much when it comes to essentials.
1. Eat a balanced diet, especially after training!
Eating well is about making it easier and faster to recover. Be careful, balanced does not mean diet but choice of food in order to use mainly those that participate in a good functioning! No food list, it's a complex subject that would deserve a full article, but you understood the principle. The muscles are tired, worn out after training, so are the cells. You must replenish the reserves with a meal as soon as possible after training, at least one snack within 30 minutes of your race. Carbohydrates, proteins, antioxidants will be your friends, abuse them and your body will thank you for it. Performance nutrition? I will talk about it in detail here.
2. Moisturize all day long
60% of our weight is just water... Do the math it's quite impressive! We must maintain this water because it fluidizes the blood, composes our cells, our muscles, our brain... In short, we cannot do without it, it is essential for an effective recovery. 1.5 L per day is the minimum but it can be much more if you run, it is hot, if you are active during the day... The ideal is to drink regularly during the day to permanently replenish your "water stock". I always carry a 50cl bottle of water with me so I don't have to apologize! For more details see the article on the runner's hydration.
3. Get enough sleep
Did you know that some physiological adaptations only occur during sleep? And especially at the end of the night when the general rest is completed. Getting enough sleep is therefore maximizing the effectiveness of your training... without doing anything (it is the case to say so!). Many of us have trouble with this point, but cutting back on sleep is not a good idea for those who want to improve... 7 hours minimum per night for the majority... But each profile is different, so the principle is to feel rested when you wake up, a sign that the body has had time for a good recovery. And if the week is complicated, at least take advantage of the weekends to make up for it! (Don't skip the long exit though! :))
4. Warm up at each session
Yes, recovery begins as soon as you warm up! A complete warm-up is even essential to recover from a session! Because the warm-up allows the body to be gradually started up to prepare it for the effort that awaits it. 15′ jogging, dynamic stretching, some progressive accelerations, and off we go! More information in my article on the warm-up in running
5. Run in fundamental endurance
Just after a session, a few minutes of slow jogging in fundamental endurance are very beneficial, the blood circulates faster than at rest, without creating new damage and the waste generated by the training starts to be evacuated. A jog the next day is also welcome during intense sessions to speed up recovery. And when you say slow, it's slow! With their 25km/h VMA, the best Kenyans still have to do recovery jogging at 12-13 km/h maximum, so around 50% VMA. It makes you think...
The little extras of optimized recovery
Let's move on to the little extras of recovery in running. These small actions will improve your recovery and allow you to progress even further. Most of them are easy to do, and I encourage you to test them if you don't know them. It's up to you to do your shopping to build your recovery à la carte! The more intense the session is, the more you should use and abuse it!
6. Drink bicarbonate-rich water
Just after the effort, drinking sparkling water such as St Yorre is very beneficial (And yes, for once the ad didn't say anything stupid, "With St Yorre it goes strong, very strong!"). Because the high levels of bicarbonates in it help our body reduce the muscle acidity that training creates in our body. I say St Yorre because it contains many interesting elements in post-training use, but nothing prevents you from adding sodium bicarbonate + potassium bicarbonate to tap water and creating your own recovery drink at a lower cost.
7. Recovery socks
With fragile calves, he's almost an essential for me! These socks allow, by their moderate compression effect, to better circulate the blood in the legs and therefore to better recover: a recovery in the sofa? What more could you ask for? I'm talking about compression here if you're interested in the subject.
8. Legs in the air technique
So when I talk about legs in the air... I'm just talking about lying on the couch with your legs at right angles on a wall! We hold this position for about 10 minutes until it swarms in our feet. The legs are artificially drained of "used" blood, and when the legs are returned to their normal position, the toes are moved to make the blood circulate more quickly. And that's it, the blood is renewed and the recovery is accelerated! Simple but effective.
9. Cryotherapy: Recovering by cold!
Cold preserves it is well known! Let's take that saying at its word... Have you ever seen these pictures of athletes diving into garbage cans filled with ice cubes? The concept makes you smile but is very effective! And to our amateur runner scale we can adapt it. Required equipment: a shower. And what are we doing there? And well after a big training, at the end of the shower, we use the coldest position and let it flow directly on the calves about fifteen seconds per leg. In summer, the water is not always cold enough for that unfortunately and in winter... you have to be more motivated but it's really very efficient! Cold causes vasoconstriction, muscle blood vessels contract, blood is ejected from the muscle and circulation slows down. When the cold stops, fresh blood flows into the muscle.
10. Avoid stress
Very harmful for our recovery, stress should be avoided as much as possible. Easy to say... Hard to control, I grant you... That's why I put it last! There are still some aids. Relaxation, sophrology or yoga techniques are still good assets to better manage stress, reduce it or even evacuate it. A quick session before you go running if necessary? Note also that a simple jog in fundamental endurance is also one of the best antidepressants, studies have proven it!