Recover Better and Run Better

We runners know how to follow training plans, push our bodies, and get our cross training in.  But one thing we often neglect is a proper recovery.  This part of the training can be just as key to your success as the mileage.  Here are a few things you can do to help keep your body moving:

Legs up!  Elevating those legs can work wonders after a long training run.  Help avoid swelling and keep everything flowing by going upside down.  This can be as simple as throwing your legs up on the couch.  You can take it another level and elevate against the wall.  You will feel so refreshed after a good 10-15 minutes of elevation.  If you practice yoga, go ahead and do some shoulder stances or go for it and balance on your head.  Any of these will help.

Compress:  I have said this so many times and I feel like a broken record with my athletes.  Compress those calves and you will feel so much better.  Many runners, especially those who are just beginning or tackling a long training plan for the first time, experience shin splints and tight calves.  Compression sleeves practically hug your calves and show them the love they need.

Skip them during the run. They are pricey and their biggest benefit is gained afterwards.  Put them on under your clothes, or rock them as they are.  If you are feeling really tight, I highly recommend a little night time compression session.


I love my pink compression socks!


Salute the sun:  Yoga has worked for ages for a reason.  It can make a huge impact on your running too.  Throw in some post run sun salutations, lunges and pigeon poses.  These will help relengthen your hamstrings and open up your hips.  Runners tend to be tight and our hamstrings and glutes often to take the brunt of the stiffness.  Can’t get a full session in?  That is totally fine.  Just spend a good 10-15 minutes in front of the TV and stretch it out.


Hydrate!  One of the biggest detriments from running is dehydration  Your whole body feels this and your muscles are no exception.  Proper hydration throughout the day will prepare your muscles for the next training session.  Carry water with you throughout the day and sip away.  This is extremely important during training cycles.

Fuel:  Don’t forget to refuel your body after runs, especially your long slow distance runs and speed work.  You should aim to get in some protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout.  A quick snack can do the trick, or make it a meal.  Aim for a snack within those first 30 minutes and a larger meal a few hours after that.  This is my favorite perk to running!

Roll it out:  Foam rolling is a great way to keep your body in the game.  Spend a few minutes post run, rolling out trigger points (areas where you feel aches and pains).  Spend a minute or two in 2-4 inch sections where you feel tight or sore.  Working on these “trigger points” will help realign muscle fibers.  Follow this up with a few static stretches and your body will be good to go!


What are your best training recovery tips?  Notice I didn’t mention ice baths.  I just can’t bring myself to try it.

36 thoughts on “Recover Better and Run Better

  1. Thanks for these tips! My go-to is foam rolling, but I love yoga as well. Putting feet up against a wall is also so great! Thanks for the reminders on compression gear- I’ll be sure to wear my socks on the flight tomorrow! 🙂

  2. “We runners know how to follow training plans, push our bodies, and get our cross training in”… WE DO?? No one told me!!!

    … the neglect bit I have down though : P

    I need beaten over the head with these tips daily. My foam roller’s been used a pillow more than a mobility tool!!! Thanks for the reminders : )

  3. Love and follow all of these!!! I actually have compression sleeves on now 😀 I like wearing the sleeves under my sweat pants when I’m just at home with the kids, lol!

    I did want to ask though, I’m lactose intolerant and was wondering if you knew of a post workout milk or shake thing I could drink. I used to drink (and really liked) Rockin Refuel Muscle Recovery but it would leave me super sick after 😦 They have a lactose free one but it’s not for muscle recovery; it’s for building muscle. 😦

  4. Studies have been coming out saying that ice baths aren’t that good because while they may speed recovery, they hamper muscle growth. I use that as an excuse not to do ice baths. That and not having a bathtub (ah, the joys of a small NYC home!)

  5. I wish I knew how to get my cross-training in! My favourite recovery is sleep (which could be why I am not cross-training). I try to get a good night’s sleep before or after long runs especially. Though life with kids doesn’t always allow that.

  6. I’m just starting to get back into higher mileage weeks and this is a great reminder that I need to schedule in recovery! I’m pretty good about scheduling cross training, but not so great with scheduling recovery–legs up the wall sounds amazing! Also, any compression sock brand recommendations? I know I need them, but haven’t made the splurge yet.

  7. These are all such amazing tips and I’ve become more diligent about recovery as the years have gone on. What I embraced this past winter was an actual season of recovery – I took an off season from November through Christmas and it worked wonders!!! I’ve really been trying my best to foam roll lately. I always seem to do that AFTER I get injured, so I’m making a point to do it now that my miles are increasing!

  8. Great tips and advice…this year, I have been better about stretching and rolling and I think it really helps. Totally agree on compression, although I do use them for runs. I tore my calf muscle a couple times and since then, I use compression on all but the shortest of my runs. I also have an older pair that I’ll sleep in after a long run or hard workout. Gotta do better about hydration during the day for sure. Would love to add in some swimming and cycling but my schedule is as jammed as it can get!

  9. Lots of great tips throughout … and I do almost none of them! haha … oh well, I discovered the wonders of compression a couple of years ago, so I regularly wear compression socks now.

    The other biggie has to be “listen to your body”. I am nearing the end of a 12 day cycle – I have run 10 days straight and will run tomorrow and Friday and then take the weekend off. This is following another 12 on/2 off cycle. I am not sure a forced schedule is smart, but it works for me – though at this point I am noticing myself getting more tired at night, which is pretty clearly a sign 🙂 But I know when I can push and when I should back off … and removing the guilt about rest days is critical.

  10. All great recovery options! I am all about foam rolling, using the stick, wearing my compression sleeves, stretching, taking a nice long hot shower or bath. If money were no object I’d be all about sports massage too!

  11. Ice baths aren’t great but I find with some ginger oil, the work quite nicely 🙂 yoga is a great way to chill your body & mind too 🙂

  12. I did all of the above with my half training last year and it really made a difference – the yoga piece was new for me and wow, what a difference. I avoid the ice bath but I do a contrast shower which was recommended by my naturopath to help flush out inflammation (3:1 hot:cold so 3min warm followed by 1 min as cold as you can tolerate, repeat 2-3 times during your shower). I also put cold gel on my legs underneath my compression sleeves. Hello! Cool bliss and compression without the ice, lol!

  13. I like taking a nice hot bath after a long run, especially in the winter. I put bath salts and lavender oil in it and it’s lovely. Today I elevated my legs while soaking to get additional benefits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s