The Best Running Recovery Essentials
Running can be hard. That’s a fact. Whether you’re deep in a big training block and the legs are barking, returning to running routine after a break from pounding the pavement, or just embarking on your running journey.
Nutrition is no doubt a pivotal part of the recovery puzzle but we’ll leave that to the experts! In this article, we’ll cover some of the key products you should be utilising on a weekly basis to keep mowing through the miles and slaying those Ks injury free!
As runners, many of us are probably more than used to contorting ourselves into karma sutra-esc positions and rolling around on objects resembling medieval torture devices.
However, possibly the number one lifesaver for sore muscles that can be used anytime, anywhere (if you don’t mind funny looks from puzzled onlookers) is the foam roller.
This unassuming cylinder of foam comes in various densities and can be used with great effect on the larger muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, upper back and calves. Of course, a foam roller will not replace a dedicated professional sports therapist however, when it comes to low maintenance running related self-care, the foam roller is worth its weight in gold.
All the range over recent years, you’ll be hard pressed to go on Instagram these days without seeing an athlete pushing a massage gun.
They look fancy, provide excellent slow motion video content and can’t be matched for convenience but do they actually work?
We won’t dive too deep into the exact science behind massage guns or, percussive massage therapy to give it it’s official title, but with various power levels and attachable heads to reach those areas out of bounds to the less nimble foam roller, massage guns definitely have a place in a recovery routine.
Utilised by some of the greatest distance runners of all time such as Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kamworor and recreational runners alike, calf sleeves or compression socks are another incredibly valuable piece of kit.
Again, there is a vast quantity of literature you can get lost in when it comes to the efficacy of compression. In simple terms, compression has been shown to increase blood flow. Increased velocity of blood flow through veins means that deoxygenated blood and lactic acid will get back to the heart quicker, which will help to increase the rate of recovery and decrease muscle soreness! Compression will also help to stabilize the muscle and decrease the amount of muscular vibration, resulting in decreased fatigue. To sum up the benefits of compression, enhanced performance through increased blood flow, quicker recovery and decreased muscle soreness, and less fatigue. All good things!
Maybe the most overlooked item on this list but a product I’ve recently added to my running recovery repertoire and I’m never going back!
I’m sure anyone reading this knows someone who’s dealt the incredibly common and painful both physically (and to try and pronounce) plantar fasciitis. Since rocking my recovery sliders pretty much 24/7 whilst not running, I’ve noticed a significant difference to general foot, ankle and calf soreness and they’re probably the most comfortable thing you’ll ever wear.
There’s a time and a place for walking through luscious green grass barefoot with the sun on your skin but if you’re running a decent whack of weekly mileage, I’d stick a good pair of recovery sliders on your Christmas list immediately. They’ve been a game changer for me!
As a final sentiment, no single recovery product is going to instantly make you a bullet proof mileage machine. The products above should always be used in conjunction with a suitable pre run warm up routine and combined with good nutrition and adequate sleep!
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