After Your Run
What do you do just after you finish your run or race? Do you stretch, eat, or go pick up the kids? Developing a ritual afterwards is beneficial because it will help you transition out of your workout mode and back into your daily schedule safely. Hopefully these 4 tips are something that you are already doing. If not, give them a try and tell us what you think. Are we missing any that you do that really helps you? Tell us in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
Choose a set of stretches specific to your needs. Post-run, a short ritual might involve stretching the calves and quads; a longer ritual might also include the adductors ( the butterfly stretch) and psoas. Aim to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and up to three minutes.
2. Yoga poses
Complement your stretching with yoga poses. The warrior I pose (virabhadrasana I) benefits runners by targeting the hip flexors. From there, you can move into the warrior II pose (virabhadrasana II). The standing forward bend (uttanasana) is a good way to gently stretch the hamstrings and loosen the lower back. The squat pose (malasana) is essential for keeping the ankles, hips, and back flexible. The legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani) aids the movement of blood from the legs after a run. For a more meditative pose or to simply take some time to watch the clouds drift by, try the corpse pose (savasana).
3. Foam roller and massage stick
If you have these tools with you, take some time to roll out your lower back, iliotibial band, quads, hamstrings, and calves. In addition to a foam roller and massage stick, use a lacrosse ball to target trigger points (e.g. in the back or hips) and a golf ball to target the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet. If you don’t have these tools handy, you can simply use your thumb or hands for some light self-massage to target areas like the calves, hips, and lower back.
Grab water and a balanced snack that includes carbohydrates, protein, and some fat about 30 to 60 minutes after the race to start replenishing your glycogen storage (your body’s tank for stability, taste, hydration potential and satiety). If your stomach can’t handle food right after you finish, grab a sports drink or chocolate milk instead as theses options both have a health mix of electrolytes, sugar and calories.