I thought I’d share my top two recovery tips on how to recover from a training session and prevent injury. Recovery is important for all sports in one way or another but especially for running. Running is such a high impact sport and puts a huge force on our joints, muscles and bones. It’s important that we become adamant about recovering from every session so that we can come back fresh for the next workout and stay uninjured. There are many things we can do to recover but I’m going to focus on what I think are the two top physical things we can do to recover from a workout.
I’ve been injured for maybe 1-2 weeks total in 5+ years and I’ve always followed these tips to keep me healthy and uninjured:
Tip 1: Foam Rolling
This can include massage and physio but foam rolling can be done in your own home and costs a lot less than getting a massage or seeing a physiotherapist. Massage and physio are great if you really need expert help. They are professionals and should know how to make your muscles happy and working again!
I am religious about foam rolling everyday. It’s kept my muscles loose and gets me as ready as possible to attack the next days training sessions. I usually only do 5 minutes a few times a day and that seems to do the trick for me. When I have a spot that is especially tight I will spend more time on it or bring out the ball to really pinpoint on my trigger point. I start on my calves, move to my hamstrings, quads, IT band, and end with my glutes. If I’ve been swimming a lot I will use a ball on my pecs as they usually get tight. It will be obvious (and painful) to you when you have a spot that should be worked on. Start rolling over that spot while trying to keep the muscle relaxed. Eventually it should release and it will feel better. Sometimes we develop issues that we can’t work out ourselves with foam rolling, which means it’s time to pay a visit to your physiotherapist. Foam rolling is seriously one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do for your legs and your recovery. If you run and aren’t doing this, go out and buy one. If you don’t know how to use it, find someone to show you, or YouTube some videos.
Tip 2: Never Sacrifice Form For Speed (or anything)
I feel this tip is so underrated among so many athletes. Never letting your form falter is a great habit to have and will prevent injuries and help you through the back half of races when the wheels really start to come off for most people. Let’s say you have a hard set in your training session and you really want to hit your times. If you can’t hit those without having good form but try to push through anyways, it probably won’t end well. I see it happen all the time to athletes who are getting injured. Even I’ve been guilty of trying to hit times that were out of my fitness reach and ended up pushing too hard and let my form slip. I think those are the only times I’ve injured myself in the past few years, but thankfully it has never been anything serious. I could go on and on about how important form is to an athlete, but all you should know is never sacrifice form for speed. If you can’t handle going fast with good form, you simply aren’t ready to go that fast yet. Don’t get upset, just keep putting in the work, keep good form, and you will get there!
I hope these tips will be helpful to you. I think they are the two most physically important things you can do to help recover and prevent injuries. In the end, you will spend less time being injured and more time doing what we all love to do. Maybe even get faster too 🙂