When it comes to a lengthy or intensive run or cardio workout, how you warm-up and cool down is just as critical as how you warm up. The intense pace you set for your body will take a toll on it by burning glycogen (muscle glycogen stored for rapid energy), destroying muscle fibers, and leaving you exhausted all over.
Here are some techniques to care for your post-run body to avoid injury and improve athletic performance.
How To Relieve Sore Muscles?
Just as CBD for exercise can assist in guiding the pre-workout mindset, it can also assist in soothing post-workout aches and pains. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD gummies can help alleviate the pain and muscular aches associated with workout programs. This enables individuals’ bodies to heal more quickly and with less lingering discomfort throughout the body following intensive activities. CBD is a widely used dietary supplement for a variety of reasons. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to maintain homeostasis throughout the body, including the muscles.
After an intense workout or an extended run, it’s crucial to start rehydrating within the initial 10-15 minutes of concluding your activity. Even if the weather is cool or even cold, you will still lose a significant amount of sweat and will need to replenish fluids.
Electrolyte solutions like Gatorade (or water-soluble sprays like EnduroPacks) are effective options, and your goal should be to consume 16-20 ounces of fluids. If you’re running in hot conditions, you can utilize our sweat loss calculator to pinpoint the exact amount of hydration you should aim for.
● After Your Run, Stretch or Take a Walk
Stretching is a point of contention among fitness gurus. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that the optimal time to stretch is immediately following a run when muscles are warm and supple.
Spend around 15–30 seconds on each side stretching your runners—but be cautious, especially if you run for 90 minutes or more. Stretching muscles before a run, while they are cold and rigid, puts them in danger of tears; therefore, dynamic stretching should be performed following a warm-up jog.
After running for more than 90 minutes, it is preferable to stroll for a short amount of time—if you have the time and the necessary fluids/calories. After a lengthy run, your muscles will be fatigued and stretching after a half or full marathon may result in acute muscular damage.
● Slowly cool down.
Allocating time to cool down readies your muscles for recovery. In a 2018 investigation into active recovery, it was found that runners who engaged in a 50% reduction in activity at the conclusion of their exercise (as opposed to complete rest) managed to run three times farther during their subsequent run. The researchers hypothesized that this improvement was attributable to heightened blood circulation, leading to a reduction in blood lactate levels, which is the compound responsible for muscle soreness.
Additionally, a 2012 study discovered that participants who followed their strength workout with 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity cycling felt less muscular discomfort.
● Consume a nutritious meal 1-2 hours after your run
After the ice bath, it’s crucial to ensure you have a nourishing meal, especially considering you’ve already had Gatorade and a couple of small snacks.
In order to fully recharge your muscles for your next optimal performance, they require a more substantial meal. If you typically run in the morning, this substantial meal could be your breakfast, with options such as eggs with vegetables and whole-wheat toast, oatmeal with fruit and toast, or even pancakes topped with fruit and yogurt.
For your lunch or dinner, you can opt for a salad and a sandwich, pasta, or even leftovers from the previous night. The key is to select a high-quality meal that provides a sufficient balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. This will ensure that your body receives the remaining nutrients necessary to successfully complete the recovery process.
● Change Your Activities
Cross-training is an excellent strategy to avoid overworking muscles without taking a complete break from exercise. On days when you need to recover from running, engage in low-impact exercise such as biking, strength training, swimming, yoga, or using your gym’s elliptical trainer.
Even a little walk will provide a respite for your running muscles and joints while also allowing you to maintain your fitness level. Cross-training is especially ideal for vacation situations where running outside or on a treadmill is not possible.
For the leisure runner: Combine two to three days of cross-training with your three to four days of running.
For the competitive runner: If you run four to six days a week, consider replacing a low-intensity cross-training activity for one to two days of easy running or rest.
For injured or sidelined runners: You may need to cross-train more frequently, but consult your physician or physical therapist to determine the appropriate amount of cross-training for your injury. Cross-training can assist injured runners in maintaining fitness levels and coping with the frustration and sadness associated with being unable to run.
● Schedule Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is vital following a long, strenuous run or marathon. Your body needs significant downtime to recover and repair itself. Indeed, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that you sleep at least eight hours per night for optimal health. This means that even on nights when you don’t exercise, you should develop the habit of sleeping and wake up at times that allow for eight hours of sleep.
According to a Stanford University study published in the journal Sleep, the goal for running athletes should be to get more than eight hours of sleep each night. Athletes who slept longer than seven to nine hours each night increased their sprint running times and response times.
Make use of a foam roller. Foam rolling on tired muscles may make grown men cry, yet it significantly aids in muscle recovery. “It has been hypothesized that foam rolling may help reduce edema (muscle swelling) and promote tissue repair,” Hogrefe explains.
As per research conducted in 2015, utilizing a high-density foam roller for 20 minutes immediately after physical activity and again 24 hours later could potentially reduce muscle soreness and enhance dynamic movements.
As you’ve seen, this is a lengthy routine. While you may not always have time to incorporate all of these recovery measures, they do provide a glimpse of what you could do on those rare occasions. Make the best of it, but at the very least you have a strategy.