One area that sometimes falls by the wayside during training is what you do immediately after the run. And that can affect how ready you are for your next run.
As a runner myself, I used to rush into the next big thing on my to-do list as soon as I hit my finish line. But I eventually learned that what you do after the run is just as important as what you accomplished during the exertion. To be successful, you should do a few important things that will help you hit the pavement refreshed and ready next time out.
Stretch – Post run we just really want to sit down and rest, right? But that’s the very time to stretch to prevent injury and increase flexibility. Aim to target the low back, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings for sure. If you have time, work on other areas that might be tight too.
Hydrate – Ever hear the old saying, If you are already thirsty, then dehydration has started? Well it’s absolutely true! Post run you may not feel like slurping down a big bottle of water, but the truth is you should. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and cramps too if not taken care of.
Refuel – I know I am usually starving and not hungry all at the same time after I finish a run. You may be too, but it’s important to get a protein- and carb-rich snack within 30 minutes to help your body replenish and repair. If you’re not headed straight home, carry simple snacks in your gym bag so you don’t have to skip.
Get a good night sleep – Sleep is your body’s opportunity to repair from damage done throughout the day. Some studies show that runners especially can benefit from sleep because without it the body may produce more cortisol, which can interfere with tissue repair.
Get ready to do it again – After you run, process your triumphs or your challenges and then move on. For some runners this is the hardest part. If you hit your pace, typically you will be pleased, but if you didn’t, you may tend to tear apart every moment of the workout. Have a moment for lessons learned and know that some days are better than others. Prepare yourself to get back into it full effort at the next session!
What you do daily can lead to long-term success. Remembering to take care of your body after each workout will leave you not only feeling better, but more prepared to tackle your next challenge! What are your post run rituals? Share in the comment box below!