It can be really easy after a long run or race to head home, shower, and just sit on a chair or sofa with your favourite comfort foods.
Yes, we need to refuel and rest, but how and when we do that is important. Effective running recovery is so important. But I don’t recommend to perform some intense stretches when we finish our run. Right after our run our muscles our tight, sore and need to recover with some flexibility. My recommendation for post-run, especially long runs, we should focus on some short easy flexible stretches 20-30secs each max.
Perform Short Post-Run Walks
Post-run walks and cool downs are a great way to start the recovery process. Personally, I love to build in a 5 minute walk at the end of my runs. You can walk 5-15mins according to your schedule.
Just like a warm-up prepares our body’s to run, a cool down helps get our body back to normal post-exercise. It allows our heart rate to lower, our breathing to slow, and our muscles to start relaxing.
Sitting down immediately isn’t great for our heart and often leads to stiff tight muscles.
Stretching When It Feels Good
While I recommend dynamic moves for warm-ups, it’s not always necessary to do intense stretches post run. However, for most runners, the recommendation is to perform some light static stretching post-run, which feels good, helps our body to relax and promotes better recovery.
Remember that if you are feeling really tight, that is often a sign of a muscle being overworked or weak. Both things you need to take care of with more strength training, to help manage those longer kilometres.
Full stretching doesn’t have to be immediately after we finish. It could be later in the day. Maybe it’s a little bit of yoga or just 10-20 minutes of stretching in the evening, even if we’re watching TV.
Regardless of when we might make time to do it, it’s good to focus on the total body.
Obviously, at first we should focus on our lower body, specifically the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. But we shouldn’t avoid stretches for the upper body that can also tighten up, especially as our posture switches to a poor and bad type on long runs as we get tired.
Make sure to spend some time working on your back, chest, arms, and neck.
Also, don’t neglect your feet. They need some love too considering all they do for us!
Recovery Run Stretches
All the body recovery stretches should be gently held for at least 60 seconds.
Focus On Good Post-Run Recovery, Perform Some Good Stretches A Few Hours Later Or At Night, Feel Better, Less Muscle Soreness, Enjoy Some Great Runs!