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Recover Don’t Just Rest @RunABCSouth The first in a series of articles #recovery

Jul 20th, 2015

Recover Don’t Just Rest @RunABCSouth The first in a series of articles #recovery

Jul 20th, 2015 / Nicki Chick

The importance of effective recovery for running improvement.
RUN ABC 15th July 2015

Why is effective recovery important?
Recovery is vital to allow the
adaptations of your body to take
place and actually improve your
fitness. We don’t get fitter or stronger
during the training run, we get fitter
and stronger when resting after the
run. The microtrauma that occurs to
the muscles and tendons stimulates
further healing and growth and this
can only happen if they’re given a
chance to rest and recover. Similarly,
training aims to improve our nervous
system economy and this needs
effective nourishment post exercise.
Training programmes that involve
running every day are unlikely to get
the same results as programs with
rest days built in. Recent research has
shown that athletes with less than
two rest days per week during their
training season were five times more
likely to get an overuse injury

What are the time frames for
Time frames will vary for the individual,
dependent on how well they cope
with different workouts. However, a
general rule would be if you are still
feeling DOMS (delayed onset muscle
soreness) on walking, then you are
going to struggle to run effectively
enough to train properly. Don’t run
before you can walk! A bit of cycling
or swimming can be a nice way to let
your running muscles recover. It is
likely that you will only feel DOMS for
more than 24 hours if you have really
put a big effort in – normally with hill
training or heavy interval sessions.
After a big event … take time out! Rest,
hydrate, enjoy yourself and be proud
of your achievement! You may get the
itch to want to run just 2-3 days later,
but I would say don’t!

(eg a marathon)
Recovery on the day
• If you’ve completed a significant
run, such as a marathon, it is likely
that you will feel some degree of
muscle soreness. The key is to keep
moving! Try to keep walking for 10-
15 minutes once you cross the finish
line to reduce muscle stiffness.
• Keep well hydrated and eat some
form of protein-rich food. This will
help flush out the lactic build up and
replenish muscle fibres from the
microtrauma sustained.
• Wait at least two to six hours after
the race before you stretch and
foam roll. This allows your muscles
time to replenish fluids and energy
lost and recover from the demands
of the race.
• Static stretching after a long run
can always make you ‘feel’ better,
but is not essential. Target the main
muscles groups – quads, hamstrings,
calves, and adductors (groin). At
least 30-60 second holds. No more
than a few at a time. One long, good
hold is better than 10 little ones.
Light yoga classes are always a nice
addition for post run recovery the
next day.
• If you’ve pushed through your
threshold and felt some pain, then
icing immediately afterwards on the
affected area for 10-20 minutes at
a time, up to every few hours for
24-48 hours can help give short
term relief.
• If you’re feeling brave enough, try
an ice bath (mainly for the legs). 10-
15 mins can help the body recover
from the microtrauma sustained
when pushing your threshold.
• The main advice is … keep moving!
Just walking or pottering about
after getting out of the shower can
help reduce the effects of stiffness
the next day

Day 2: Recovery the day after a big
• This is key! Inflammation from
microtrauma builds overnight. This
leads to scar tissue formation and
excessive muscle stiffness unless it is
eased out. A simple 30 minute light
cycle or swim the day after can aid
a quicker recovery. Don’t just rest …
• Walking and gentle massage can
also help, particularly in the first few
days after a marathon.

Days 3-7: The week after a big
If you felt pain during and after the
marathon then it is likely that you
have damaged the muscle soft tissue.
It is important to know the phases of
soft tissue healing process to prevent
causing further injury:
Phase 1 – bleeding 0-48 hours
Phase 2 – inflammation up to 5-10 days
Phase 3 – proliferation up to 3-6 weeks
Phase 4 – remodelling up to months/years
• If phase 1 and 2 respond to
general PRICE (protection, rest, ice,
compression, elevation) treatment
and ease pain, then you can return
to running within phase 3 and
gradually build back up. If this is still
pain free then keep going, as phase
4 continues without you knowing
about it. However if pain persists
5-10 days after you return to
running, then get treatment.
• Build back into running very
gently. Once muscle soreness has
significantly reduced (usually two to
four days after the race), try a short
light jog to aid blood flow and ‘feed
the need’ for a regular run. Just be
mindful to take it easy!
• Listen to your body, allow time for
your body to recover before you
return to running longer distances
and at faster speeds, use this time to
cross train as an alternative.
• A sports massage after a long run
can also help recovery. However,
we’d always recommend at least 24-
48 hours between your long run and
this to gain the best effects.


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