Pexels jonathan borba 3076509


Things to do after every run

by Tobias 6 minutes read

Last updated: 24 Aug, 2023

So, you've just crushed that long run, pushed through the final sprint, or breezed through your speed session - well done, you speedy road warrior! Now, before you collapse onto the nearest sofa and declare yourself officially done for the day, let's talk about what you should be doing after every run. Because let's face it, your post-run routine can make or break your overall running experience.

Listen to your heart

No, I'm not suggesting you cue up your favorite heartbreak playlist (although if that helps, go ahead). I'm talking about your actual heart rate. As you cross the finish line or end your run, take a moment to gauge your heart rate. It's a nifty indicator of how hard your cardiovascular system is working. Slowing down gradually instead of stopping abruptly helps your heart adjust smoothly, reducing the risk of dizziness or fainting. Plus, it feels good to let your heart catch its breath too.

Stretch it out

Ah, the sweet satisfaction of a good stretch. After a run, your muscles might be feeling tight, and giving them a gentle stretch can work wonders for your post-run recovery. Let's dive into a leg-loving stretching routine that will have your limbs singing "thank you" in harmony:

1. Hamstring Stretch: Stand tall and extend one leg straight in front of you, resting it on a bench or surface at a comfortable height. Gently lean forward from your hips while keeping your back straight. You should feel a gentle stretch along the back of your thigh. Imagine you're reaching for your toes without sacrificing your form. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and switch legs.

2. Quadriceps Stretch: Find your balance as you stand on one leg. Grab your opposite ankle behind you, gently pulling your foot towards your glutes. As you do this, focus on keeping your knees together to intensify the stretch in the front of your thigh. Engage your core to maintain stability. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

3. Calf Stretch: Locate a wall or sturdy surface to assist with this stretch. Place one foot forward and keep the other extended behind you. Lean into the wall, allowing your back leg to elongate and your heel to stay grounded. You'll feel the stretch in your back calf muscle. To enhance the sensation, adjust the angle of your back foot slightly. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

4. Hip Flexor Stretch: Step forward into a lunge position, ensuring your front knee is directly above your ankle. Lower your hips slightly and gently push them forward. As you do this, you'll feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.

5. IT Band Stretch: Cross one leg behind the other, creating a slight bend in your hips. Reach your arm over your head, creating a gentle sideways bend. This stretch targets the iliotibial (IT) band along the side of your leg. Maintain your balance as you hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.

Remember, stretching should never be a painful experience. The goal is to feel a gentle pull that gradually eases tension and increases your range of motion. As you stretch, focus on your breathing – deep inhales and exhales – to help relax your muscles even further.

By dedicating just a few minutes to these stretches, you're enhancing your post-run recovery process and ensuring your muscles remain flexible and ready for your next adventure. So, the next time you lace up your running shoes, remember that a well-stretched body is a happy body. Your legs will thank you for the extra love and attention you're giving them.

Pexels matt weissinger 13683806

Rehydrate and refuel

Now, let's talk sports drinks. Are they absolutely necessary for every run? Not quite. If you've just completed a quick, easy jog, water should do the trick. However, if you've been out for a long run or intense workout, your body might need more than just H2O. Sports drinks can replenish lost electrolytes and provide a dash of carbohydrates to refuel those glycogen stores your muscles love to tap into. Just be wary of guzzling down sugary drinks unnecessarily – remember, you're not trying to swim in a sea of calories!

Ice, Ice Baby

Now, you've heard whispers of elite athletes swearing by ice baths, and you might be wondering if it's worth the shiver. The answer? It depends. An ice bath can reduce inflammation and speed up recovery by constricting blood vessels, which might help prevent injuries. But unless you're aiming for the Olympic podium, a gentler approach like a cool post-run shower can also do wonders without feeling like you're auditioning for a winter blockbuster.

Roll with the (Foam) Punches

Speaking of feeling like a movie star, enter the foam roller – your secret weapon against muscle soreness and restricted range of motion. When you're feeling like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, a foam roller can be your oil can. It helps break up knots, releases tension, and increases blood flow to your hard-working muscles. Just remember, it's a foam roll, not a torture device – so don't grimace, embrace!

In a nutshell

After every run, your body deserves a standing ovation and a bit of TLC. Pay attention to your heart rate, rehydrate wisely, and consider the ice bath if you're feeling adventurous. Give your muscles a spa day with a foam roller, embrace the recovery process like a true champion, and don't forget to show your legs some stretching love. Remember, it's a journey to becoming a better runner, so don't skip those rest days. And as you let your muscles gently flow and heal, know that you're not just preventing injuries – you're setting the stage for your next triumphant run.

So, the next time you lace up your running shoes, remember that the finish line is just the beginning of the ultimate cool-down performance. Whether you're sprinting for gold or jogging for joy, your post-run routine can elevate your running game, help you recover faster, and keep you feeling fantastic. Happy running, and even happier recovering!

We aim to always give appropriate credit to our reference sources and image authors. Contact us if you think a credit may be incorrect or you're an author and would like to request removal.