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Part 2: Recovery, after a Hard work in running


Here is a summary of what I’ve collected of recovery process after a sports training/activity:hydrate

1. Hydration – keep your body hydrated, avoid caffeinated drinks, drink lots of water, cordial, juices, and isotonic drinks before, during and after the sports.  Many runner skip water stations during races or when training, do not stop for a water break.  This increases the risk of dehydration.  We might not feel thirsty but we should keep ourselves hydrated.
2. Cross train – It is indeed difficult to keep up with cross training while you are trying to put up your mileage and training for a really long race like a marathon and juggling with all other stuff you have in life.  A lot of us (including me before) do not see the importance of having to cross train aside from your main sports.  It maybe easy for triathletes as they always have different disciplines but not for a runner who is stubborn and not wanting to do some cross training with the running. So why should a runner cross train?

because …

  • it helps balance your muscle groups. Cross-training helps strengthen non-running muscles and rests your running muscles. You can focus on specific muscles, that don’t get worked as much while running and may be weaker than your running muscles.
  • you’ll maintain or even improve your cardiovascular fitness. Many cross-training activities are great cardiovascular workouts.
  • it reduces your chance of injury. By balancing your weaker muscles with your stronger ones, you’ll help reduce your chance of injury. Participating in low-impact cross training activities, such as swimming or water running, will also lessen the stress on your joints, which are often a sore sport for runners.
  • you’ll avoid loosing your mojo on running. Running almost everyday will eventually burn you out even the most hard-core running enthusiast. Cross-training gives runners a much-needed mental break from their sport, which is especially important for those training for long-distance events such as marathons.

crosstrainCross Training with your running:
Swimming – is an excellent cross-training activity for running because it’s not weight-bearing.  It gives your joints  a break. It allows you to build strength and endurance, and also improve flexibility. It’s a great balance for running because you’ll really work your upper body, while giving your leg muscles a breather. Swimming is especially recommended for people who are prone to running injuries or are recovering from an injury.

Water Running – Water running is a great alternative for injured runners or as a substitute for an easy running day. It’s also a smart way to get in your runs during hot and humid weather. While you can run in the water without flotation aids (vests, belts, etc), you’ll find the workout to be easier with them.

Cycling or Spinning– Cycling and spin classes are also great low-impact ways to boost your cardiovascular fitness and strength, especially your quads and glutes.

Elliptical– You’ll get a total body cardiovascular workout on the elliptical machine. Their oval-like (ellipse) motion provides the user with the feel of classic cross-country skiing, stair climbing, and walking all in combination. You can program the elliptical to move in either a forward or backward motion, so you can work all the major muscles in your legs. Because the muscles used on the elliptical are similar to those you use when running, the machine is a good low-impact alternative when an injury prevents you from running.

Walking Walking is a good activity to substitute for an easy running day, especially if you’re recovering from a long run or speed workout. With certain injuries, you may be able to walk pain-free, and speed-walking is a good way to maintain cardiovascular fitness while you’re recovering.

Rowing: An excellent cardiovascular, low-impact activity, rowing strengthens the hips, buttocks, and upper body. Just make sure you learn proper the rowing technique to maximize the benefits of this activity and avoid injury.

Weight Training: Strength training allows runners to improve the strength in their running muscles, create balance between unbalanced muscle groups, and focus on keeping their legs strong during injury recovery. You can do either resistance training, where you use your own weight for resistance like pushups, or weight training, where you use weights, free or machine, for resistance like leg press. Strength training is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your core, which helps runners avoid fatigue and maintain their form.

Pilates: Pilates offers some of the same benefits as strength training, since you’ll use your body weight as resistance to strengthen your muscles. You’ll also improve your flexibility since it involves a lot of stretching and emphasizes on the core where our chi energy is focused on.

Cross-Country Skiing: With cross-country skiing, you’ll get a great cardiovascular workout and focus on many of the same muscle groups as running. You’ll skip all of that the pounding on the road, so it’s a great cross-training activity for runners with injuries. You’ll also work on your flexibility, as the gliding motion stretches your hamstrings, calves and lower-back muscles. And if there’s snow on the ground, you can always use an indoor ski machine, which provides a very similar workout.

Ice or Inline Skating: Inline or ice skating is also another no-impact sport and it’s a great activity if you’re recovering from shin splints, Achilles tendonitis or knee injuries. You’ll really work your quadriceps, buttocks and lower-back muscles.

3. sleepSleep, rest – Sleep is the most natural, inexpensive and easy to manage recovery tool. This is the time when your body rejuvenates and many of the physical adaptive processes responsible for improving your performance take place. During sleep your immune, nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems all undergo physiological processes designed to help you recover.

Practice to get 7-10 hours of quality sleep each night. Try to make your sleep environment conducive to quality sleep.  Make sure the sleep environment is dark – particular during the first two hours of sleep.

4. Food and Nutrition – carbohydrates and protein, 45 minutes after excercise, There is a 45-minute window of opportunity for optimal refueling after a training session.  The ideal recovery nutrition strategy (non-sport-specific) is a meal or liquid supplement containing high glycaemic index carbohydrates and quality proteins in approximately a 4:1 ratio that includes 10-20% of your total daily caloric intake of these two

* Preventing Glycogen Depletion–You can store only a limited amount of glycogen in your muscles and when you do back to back hard days you run the risk of depleting those glycogen stores, reducing your performance and increasing your need for recovery.

Recovery rich snacks for athletes:

1. 2 Crumpets with Peanut Butter
2. Breakfast cereal (about 2 cups) with ½ cup of milk
3. 200-300 gms of baked beans with a slice or two of wholemeal toast
4. Sports Bar (read the labels – look for carbohydrate, sodium and protein)
5. 500 mls of low fat flavoured milk

6. A cup of tea, the antioxidants found in both green and black tea fight muscle soreness caused by inflammation.

5. Professional massage – While research results vary wildly, the reported physiological benefits include increased blood flow, enhanced oxygen and nutrient delivery to fatigued muscles, increased removal of lactic acid;warming and stretching of soft tissues, increasing flexibility, removal of microtrauma, knots and adhesions.

Reported psychological benefits include: Improved mood state;Increased relaxation and feeling less fatigued.

Massage feels great and is a fantastic physical and mental recovery tool. Make sure you find a massage practitioner that is:
1. You are comfortable with – someone you can communicate with.
2. Has experience working with athletes and ideally endurance athletes.

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