How do you feel after a good, long run?
Whether you're a professional athlete or you run for fun, the choices you make while you rest factor into your overall health.
What you do after a run determines how well you'll perform next time you work out, and whether you're physically fit to run regularly in the first place.
Here are a few ways you can treat yourself after a marathon or a morning sprint.
1. Stay Hydrated
It's important to cool your body down with a cold beverage as soon as you finish your run.
You've stayed hydrated during your run, but you've refrained from taking in a ton of water. Swigging your water during a run causes cramps and slows you down. It can also cause a deadly condition called hyponatremia.
But once the run is over, it's time to treat yourself to a nice cold beverage.
Though water is great for rehydration, it's actually not the most hydrating beverage around. It lacks calories and other nutrients that you need after you work out.
Feel free to grab anything with electrolytes, such as a Gatorade. The electrolytes will replenish your body with sodium and potassium which will, in turn, allow you to retain more water.
2. Eat Protein And Carbs
If you're running to lose weight, you might be determined to stick to your diet at first. But whatever diet you're on, ignore it after a run unless it contains a high carb to protein content.
Ten to fifteen minutes after your run is over, eat a snack that is three-fourths carbs and one-fourth protein.
The protein will work to restore your muscles and satisfy your hunger. The carbs will replenish all that energy you spent.
3. Do Some Stretches
If you follow only one tip listed here, let it be stretching your muscles after your run. Stretching is the best exercise for preventing injury during intense physical activity.
A few minutes after you run, make sure to stretch the following muscles in your body:
Your leg muscles are the most important ones to focus on during your 10 to 15 minutes of stretching.
If any other muscles feel sore at that point, stretch those out as well.
Do you know the difference between static and dynamic stretches? Hint: Dynamic stretches are better for your muscles.
Static stretches occur when you do a stretch, and then hold that position for a few seconds before relaxing. Dynamic stretches don't require you to hold your position. Instead, you move your muscles in a fluid motion, thus warming them up more quickly.
4. Take An Ice Bath
Have you ever had an ice bath?
This might seem counterintuitive, but you should treat yourself to a bath full of ice cubes and cold water up to an hour after your run.
Sure, a hot shower after a run is well-earned. But submerging your lower body into an ice bath beforehand will keep your muscles from aching while you rest.
If you skip the ice bath and go straight for that hot shower, you'll feel like you can barely move the next morning.
5. What To Do After A Run If You're Injured
Did you know that about 65 percent of regular runners get injured?
the most common injuries affect the feet and ankles, though if you sustain a serious fall en route, you're likely to hurt your knees and hips as well.
If you hurt yourself during a run, stop the workout immediately. Many professional runners try to sprint through the pain especially during a race. However, continuing to run can tare your ligaments and cause further damage to your muscles.
If you've hurt your foot or ankle, ice it as soon as possible. Then, schedule a checkup with your physician or sports medicine specialist.
Your doctor will evaluate the injury and let you know how to treat it. Don't run until you've been cleared by your doctor.
6. Get Enough Rest
We all know about runners' adrenaline. You've just run your best race, and you can't wait to hit the pavement again.
The euphoria from your run might fool you into sprinting some more, but don't give in to it. Your mind may be exhilarated, but your body needs some time to rest and recover.
Every runner requires a slightly different recovery regimen however, you generally need a day of rest for each mile you ran.
A runner's rest doesn't mean you should binge on Netflix and ice cream for four days. By all means, get up and exercise. One day of total rest after a run is usually sufficient.
After your total day of rest, try some low to moderate exercises. Your muscles will be begging you for some movement by this point, and staying still too long can set you back.
Try a recovery run two or three days after your race. To do this, run at approximately three-fourths of your racing speed capacity. Keep your heart rate up slightly, but not at maximum exertion.
A Healthy Runner
As you continue your intensive training, remember that it's not purely about performance. Running is about staying healthy as well.
Now that you know what to do after a run, you can stick to this form of exercise for years to come if you want to.
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