Often times, after a long or intense workout some people just want to curl up in a ball and relax on the couch. Although, this may seem like a nice idea, taking time to recover properly through a recovery run can actually be more beneficial to your fitness journey in the long run.
What is a Recovery Run?
Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts have heard the term “recovery run” but may not fully understand the benefits of it. A recovery run is a low-intensity workout done after a high-intensity workout, to help your body recover from the strenuous activity. The purpose of this low-impact run is to flush out the lactic acid that built up throughout the workout, help reduce soreness, and improve future performance.
Why it is important?
When we workout, our muscles break down and glycogen levels deplete over time. Glycogen is an essential source of fuel for our bodies, especially during intense exercise. When your glycogen levels are depleted, your body has a harder time producing energy, which leads to fatigue and a decrease in overall athletic performance.
Taking the time to do a recovery run after a strenuous activity can promote better muscle recovery and help replenish glycogen stores. This enables athletes to perform at a higher level during their next workout, while reducing the risk of injury and promoting longevity in their sport.
The Benefits of Recovery Runs
1. Promotes Better Muscle Recovery
Recovery runs promote better muscle recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles which aids in repairing damaged tissue and muscle breakdown caused by intense workouts. This ensures that your muscles are ready for your next workout, decreasing the time required to recover fully. Moreover, recovery runs help reduce soreness, joint pain, and overall muscle fatigue.
2. Lowers Injury Risk
Recovery runs activate the body’s healing mechanisms and are an effective way of reducing the risk of injury. Through increasing blood flow, the body is able to repair damaged tissue which help reduce the risk of developing long-term injuries. Knee pain, plantar fasciitis, strains, and back pain are among the common injuries that can be prevented by performing recovery runs.
3. Improves Future Performance
Recovery runs improve future performance by giving you an opportunity to practice pacing and proper form without pushing your body to the limit. Intense workouts require more energy and endurance, which can be difficult to maintain, especially when the body is fatigued. By engaging in low-impact, aerobic exercise in a recovery run, athletes are still able to maintain their conditioning levels, hone their skills, and allow their body to recover without sacrificing overall performance.
How to Perform a Recovery Run
Recovery runs should last between 20 to 40 minutes and should be performed at a pace that feels comfortable without causing excessive strain on your muscles. You should be able to have a conversation without gasping for air.
While performing a recovery run, stay aware of your body and pay attention to any discomfort that may occur. If you feel any unusual pain or discomfort, slow down or stop running immediately to avoid further injury.
Recovery runs may seem like an unnecessary or unimportant activity, but they are an essential part of any athlete’s fitness routine. Recovery runs promote faster muscle recovery, reduce the risk of injury, and help improve future performance. By incorporating recovery runs into your workout routine, you’ll be better equipped to push yourself to your limits knowing that your body will have recovered effectively.
What are 3 benefits of ensuring sufficient recovery following a workout?
Ensuring sufficient recovery following a workout is just as essential as the workout itself. It is during the recovery period that the body is restored, and muscles are rebuilt or repaired after being broken down or strained during exercise. Here are three benefits of ensuring sufficient recovery following a workout:
1. Reducing Lactic Acid Buildup in Muscles:
Exercising causes the muscles to produce lactic acid, which can build up and cause soreness. Sufficient recovery time helps the body flush out lactic acid, reducing soreness and reducing the risk of injury. Active recovery, including low-intensity exercise such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can help reduce lactic acid buildup.
2. Eliminating Toxins:
Exercising causes the body to produce toxins such as free radicals. Sufficient recovery time allows the body to detoxify and eliminate these harmful compounds. Rest and hydration, along with proper nutrition, can help to remove these toxins and assist in muscle repair.
3. Keeping Muscles Flexible:
Sufficient recovery can help muscles maintain flexibility and range of motion. Rest days allow for stretching, which can help prevent muscle tightness and improve blood circulation. Stretching, using foam rollers, or massage therapy are all great ways to keep the muscles flexible and ready for your next workout.
Ensuring sufficient recovery following a workout is crucial for the body’s overall health and fitness. By allowing for recovery time, reducing lactic acid buildup, eliminating toxins, and keeping muscles flexible, you can avoid injury and improve performance. So, make sure to prioritize rest and recovery just as much as you do your workouts!
Is it good to do a recovery run after long run?
Recovery runs are workouts aimed at reducing the strain imposed on your muscles by providing an easy and non-stimulating training session after previously completed intense endurance or strength training exercises. In case you’re wondering if they are suitable for your training routine, you may question the potential benefits and drawbacks of performing them after a long run.
The primary benefit of recovery runs is that they help your muscles and tissues recover from hard workouts by promoting circulation. By increasing blood flow to your muscles, recovery runs deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to help them recuperate and flush out metabolic byproducts. Consequently, this recovery-focused workout can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) and improve your muscle strength and endurance.
Additionally, after completing a long run, your muscles will have undergone microscopic tears in the fibers, which need time to heal and recover. Recovery runs are an excellent way of promoting circulation through your muscles and aiding them to repair and grow after an intense workout such as a long run.
Another advantage of recovery runs is that they can help to boost your metabolism, which can aid you in losing weight and building lean muscles. This is because these workouts allow you to burn excess fats in your muscles, resulting in a leaner body. Moreover, recovery runs can be an excellent way to increase your endurance levels and maintain your cardiovascular fitness while still providing adequate recovery for your muscles.
While the benefits of recovery runs are clear, it’s essential to note that it’s critical to engage in them appropriately. Recovery runs are lighter exercises aimed at promoting circulation rather than intense workouts, which means they should not be marathon or even half-marathon distance. Instead, ensure that the recovery pace is slow and easy to help your aching muscles heal and recover.
Including recovery runs in your training routine can be beneficial, primarily after a long run. They promote circulation through your muscles, aid in healing and recovery, boost your metabolism, and increase your endurance levels. Bear in mind that they should be light workouts and take care not to overdo them. By employing them appropriately, you’ll recover faster, perform better, and decrease the risk of training-related injuries.
What happens to the body after a long run?
After a long run, several changes take place in the body. The most noticeable change is the increased metabolism that occurs during exercise and continues for some time after exercise. The energy expenditure during running helps the body burn more calories, aiding in weight loss. During a long-distance run, the body burns both carbohydrates and fats as fuel, depleting the muscles’ glycogen stores and leading to a temporary decrease in strength. After the run, the body replaces these stores, which is important for muscle recovery and growth.
Another effect of a long run is an increase in the production of endorphins, which are hormones that can induce a feeling of euphoria and happiness. This is often referred to as a “runner’s high” and is a sensation that many people report experiencing during or after a run. Endorphins also act as a natural painkiller, reducing discomfort and soreness after exercise.
Running also increases the production of human growth hormone, which helps to build muscle mass and repair damaged tissues in the body. This hormone is also important for bone health, improving bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. The increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles during running promotes tissue repair and helps to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue.
Finally, running has been shown to have numerous benefits for cardiovascular health, including improving heart function, decreasing blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart disease. It also helps to increase lung capacity and improve respiratory function, making it easier to breathe during exercise and everyday activities.
A long run can have numerous positive effects on the body, including increased metabolism, endorphin production, growth hormone production, tissue repair, and cardiovascular health. However, it is important to ensure that you are properly hydrated, fueled, and rested to maximize the benefits of your run and avoid injury.