For good or bad, I don’t stretch at all before my runs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5-miler or a marathon Instead I focus on warm ups like lunges, squats, 100 ups, skips and jumps. See top 10 exercises for running after 40 for more details on these. However, I don’t skimp on post run recovery. I feel that this is just as important as the warm-ups to keep me running without injuries. The harder the run, the more important it is to focus on the post run recovery to give the body a chance to heal before the next round of
abuse fun begins. Here are five easy post run recovery techniques that work for me.
Post Run Recovery Techniques
When I first took up running, I would ice after every single run, even if I only ran for 10 or 15 minutes. R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) in general is a cure-all assuming that the injury or the soreness is not too severe. Wrap a simple ice pack (or frozen peas) on your calves and ankles for 10 minutes, take a break and repeat again.
2. Foam Roller
Every runner that I know has a Foam Roller tucked away somewhere in their house and I’ve got to say, that the foam roller is definitely my best friend. The myofascial release that foam rolling offers is immensely helpful in breaking down scar tissues, stretching the muscles and getting the blood flow going again. There are simple foam rolling techniques for your IT band, calves, thighs, quads and even your gluteus. Take the time to do this after each for your post run recovery and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
3. Graston Technique
Many folks haven’t heard about this one. I first learned about it from my chiropractor when I took a fall on my roller blades and busted up my shoulder. I could hear the rice crispies around my shoulder blades when I moved my arm around! Graston technique uses blunt, irregular shaped steel blades for deeper myofascial release and removal of scar tissues. I found that the handle of sturdy dinner knife does the job just fine. Graston has become my personal favorite for sore calves. Grab the knife with both hands and work the handle up and down the calves and the shins. You’ll feel the scar tissues literally breaking down and is an awesome post run recovery technique.
4. Step on a Golf Ball
Drop a golf ball on a yoga mat or a carpeted floor (for friction) and place your bare foot on top of the ball. Press down, move your foot and gently knead the bottom of the foot with the ball for about 20 seconds. Oh my, you’ll feel a little ticklish and a huge amount of relief. Best personal foot massage ever! In fact this simple golf ball technique works wonders on shin splints, though I use it for post run recovery just as much. Try it next time.
5. Hose Your Legs Down
A little while ago, I was reading about Jack Foster, who redefined what old runners can achieve. He didn’t start running until he was 32 and at 50 ran a world marathon record (2:20:28) for his age group. Jack Foster apparently observed how race horses were hosed down with cold water to cool down the heated up muscles and tendons and decided that if it works on horses, it was going to work for him. I’ve been doing this lately and the cold water along with the pressure is immensely soothing and feels great as a post run recovery technique. In fact my first full-length marathon just a few weeks ago, I dunked ice water all over my legs when I got to the aid stations and was pleasantly surprised how great it felt.
What does your post run recovery list look like? What would you add to this list?