Seven Great Ways to Recover From a Trail Run
Quick fixes to stave off injuries and improve race performance
By Ige Lopez
1. Eat up. Replenish your body immediately. There is a 15 to 30 minute window where your body needs to replace all the lost nutrients from a run. You can take your favorite recovery drink or any well proportioned protein:carbohydrate drink, but try to get in some real food afterwards. Do not forget to hydrate a lot while you eat to immediately aid in the recovery process. The food and drink you consume will neutralize some of the damages inflicted during your run.
2. Get a massage. Massages always benefit a tired body in more ways than one. You just have to know what kind of massage you need. Some opt for light massages after a hard training or racing on the trails, especially if it took five to six hours. Some trail runners usually get a weekly deep tissue massage to remove lactic acid build-up. Massages usually quicken the recovery and for some who have tight muscles and ligaments, it takes out knots that hinder performance.
3. Wear compression garments. A lot of runners wear compression garments prior to big races or training periods, during the actual race, and, most of the time, after heavy training or competition. This is because compression apparel definitely reduces soreness the next day and speeds up the strength recovery for your next big workout.
4. Take ice baths. Dipping your body (or even just your lower body) in ice for 10 minutes, if possible, can do wonders after a hard run on the trails. This method actually reduces inflammation and muscle pains brought about by intense uphills on steep inclines or long downhills that can shut down your quads.
5. Stretch. Nothing would really hurt if you actually stretch after a rigorous training run or race. You will actually feel fresher and less stiff after a pretty good stretch, especially when you focus on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
6. Be active. Staying active is better than just totally resting. Usually, a lot of people simply rest the whole day because their body is so stiff and sore after a hard trail race or run. However, walking for several minutes the day after a hard run or rave can lessen the stiffness and can actually make you feel better after. Doing other non-running activities like swimming, biking, or hiking can speed up recovery and lessen any swelling.
7. Rest and sleep. After a heavy workout on the trails, your body will feel trashed so after taking in essential food and drink, a nap can surely aid in the absorption of all the nutrients. Try to get in seven to eight hours of sleep every night and even more after big races to help your body recover faster. Resting and recovering are big parts of training.