Below is an article I found at fitsugar.com about how to recover properly from exercise:
- Don’t be one-dimensional: You may be training for a marathon, but running should not be the only part of your routine. “You need to do more than just your sport,” said Dr. Metzl, and he recommends at least two strength training sessions per week. He advises patients to focus on total-body, functional fitness when putting the kind of physical duress on the body that a race will. Squats and lunges make up the cornerstone of his workouts, as does plyometrics. A workout session with Dr. Metzl is basically a boot camp, which we were all treated to on our first morning at the summit — talk about a sore backside the next day!
- Get the kinks out: When the body trains hard, muscle use goes into overtime, which can cause a variety of ailments ranging from soreness to tightness. This is exactly why Dr. Metzl is a huge proponent of keeping the body flexible and limber. In addition to stretching after every workout, he also recommends foam rolling at least four times a week. Or if you can swing it, a sports massage once a week. This will help keep the muscles long and lean, but mostly, ready to take on all the miles you throw at it.
- Cool things down: It may not sound like the most pleasant way to hang after a grueling workout, but Dr. Metzl recommends an ice bath after any period of prolonged (and intense) activity to “reduce inflammation, which will help decrease pain going forward.” He also mentioned that ice baths are particularly helpful for endurance athletes because the cold temperature prevents the breakdown of tissue and helps increase blood flow, which speeds recovery time along. If an ice bath seems to intense, try a cold-plunge pool or even a shower.
Dr. Metzl makes three good points but I would like to add my own that I hope he would agree with. These have worked for me regardless of scientific evidence behind it.
- Healthy Fats: We are always told that after intense exercise we need carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores in our muscles. However, unless you are exercising again later on in the day or are on a low carb diet your normal diet will be enough to restore your stocks before your next session. Eating healthy fats and protein, though, is more important. Healthy fats will help decrease inflammation and, when coupled with protein, speed muscle recovery.
- Compression: While the scientific evidence behind compression clothing is still weak, I find that compression socks and tights help me bounce back from morning hard sessions so that I am nearly 100% by the afternoon for workout II. I put them on right after i get out of the ice bath and leave them on for at least 2 hours especially if I am going to be travelling or working.
- Arnica cream: After really hard sessions I lather on an Arnica gel that helps decrease inflammation; I sometimes mix in magnesium salts too for extra recovery. It may be expensive lotion but it makes my legs feel like new and smell quite nicely.
Remember that your next workout begins the moment your first one ends.
Recover well!-Coach Chris