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Best post-run solutions to speedy recovery

A quick look at what you can do to prevent DOMS and get back on the road.

Runner taking it easy after his long run.Runner taking it easy after his long run.

Like so many things, the morning after is always worse. This is no exception when it comes to running. You deal with the agonising aches and pains and the complimentary pigeon-toed walk all for the greater good of the run.  But you really don’t need to – here are some of the best running recovery tips to keep you feeling fresh.

Is it important to cool-down after a run?

Yes! One of the best running recovery tips is allowing time for a cool-down. They seem counterproductive to a lot of people but it’s important to gradually lower your heart rate back to its resting rate, or near as dammit. Imagine your work out like a curve, you want to gradually work up to your run by a warm-up and slowly lower it back down in the cool down.

What is a good cool down for a runner?

Like we previously mentioned gradually returning to rest is the best way to conclude exercise. Keeping this in mind, here is one way you can cool-down after a run. Firstly, incorporate a cooldown into your run distance. If you want to run 5k during your session,  add some length to give yourself apt time to cool down.

Example of the stretches that help prevent DOMS.
Women stretching after her run to prevent DOMS.

When approaching your cool down gradually decrease your pace every minute until you reach a walking pace. Once you get to walking, incorporate dynamic stretches such as lunges and leg raises for the desired number of reps. Usually, 8-12 reps with 2 or 3 sets is a good place to start. Then stop and focus on stretching key muscles including your upper body. Be sure to stretch out your Quadriceps, Calves, Hamstrings, Lats and Traps. Then roll out your joints focusing primarily on your ankles, hips and shoulders.  During this ensure your breathing slowly and deeply in through your nose and exhaling out your mouth. A final run is often a good way to flush any leftover toxins. A gentle jog to raise your heart rate a little above resting might highlight any tense areas needing an extra bit of TLC.

Can what I wear help prevent DOMS?

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness but it’s widely believed that compression gear can benefit your recovery. Research isn’t concluded but many believe that compression gears tight fit restricts the possible inflammation of your muscles. Know from what we know about muscles soreness, this, in turn, means that people who wear compression gear should not suffer from less muscle soreness as swelling is one of the primary reasons why we do.

Compression gear can be a relatively inexpensive part of your running inventory or top brands like Under Armour, GymShark and Nike. We recently reviewed Sculptmode’s compression wear which can be found here to help you decide if it’ll be money well spent for you.

Why does water help prevent DOMS?

Your muscles work harder during exercise, therefore they demand more oxygen. Approximately 80% of your blood volume actually consists of water so drinking does more than simply quenching your thirst! Water helps transport much-needed oxygen and around the body providing nourishment for your working muscles.

Water contains electrolytes – a lack of which can contribute to DOMS so replacing these are imperative. Be sure to replace the fluids you lose through sweat by drinking little and often on your run and drinking after you have finished training.

Looking after them while you run, and after, is why water and hydration is one of the best running recovery tips. Be sure to avoid drinks high in sugar, salt and caffeine as they can increase dehydration.

Replacing the fluids lost during their workout.
Couple re-hydrating after their hard workout.
Does sleep help DOMS?

Thankfully yes. Sleeping is one of the most effective regenerative processes the body can go through to repair injured muscles and small muscles tears (that cause DOMS!). Sleep helps because your body releases chemicals while you sleep that aid growth. Being well rested before your run and resting well after will massively help prevent muscles soreness.

Aim for 7 hours sleep minimum to give your body it’s best chance of recovery.

Can eating help to prevents DOMS?

Eating does help the onset of DOMS although, put the doughnuts back because you’ve got to be specific. It’s important to be both hydrated and fuelled as nutrients are vital to helping your muscles recover. From the two main food groups, Carbohydrates and Protein are ones to include in your post-workout meal.

Carbs hold a hormone, called insulin that is a major player in your body’s muscles growth. It also gives your body energy by replacing glycogen that you burn during exercise.

We’ve all heard about post-workout protein and for good reason. Protein helps repair the damage we cause to our muscles during a workout. Having a meal high in protein helps reduce soreness and speeds up your recovery time.

Now one not all would consider – antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants help reduce soreness by reducing inflammation. They also help to flush the system of unwanted toxins like lactic acid.

Joe Tucker
the authorJoe Tucker
Journalist
Joe is an aspiring fitness journalist looking to get his foot in the industry at jogger.co.uk. A fair-weather runner and sparring sissy who occasionally enjoys rolling down hills ... on two wheels that is. Any story ideas? Feel free to DM him with any ideas.