Running is great. It can make your day count and provide your life with joy and beautiful moments. It can constantly improve your mood and free your mind.
For this reason, we talk so much about it. We often discuss how to make running an amazing experience and offer tips on what to do before and during the run. But I want to give you some ideas on what to do after a run which will help not only to gain fitness but it will aid your mental health.
Post-run recovery tips for gaining fitness and speeding recovery
Regardless of what type of workout or easy run you had, it is critical to pay attention to your hydration and nutrition. Because you run, your body will need more water than those who are less active, especially if you sweat (I mean sparkle :P) a lot.
But also because you lose electrolytes while you exercise, you may want to get on top of those and buy/make some, if you are a regular runner.
Running is known as one of the highest calorie-burning exercises, thus it matters what you put back in your body. Although many of us start running with the idea to shed some weight, running is a huge stress for your body so you still need to eat to recover and stay healthy.
If your goal is to lose weight, focus on getting more protein after your run and a bit of carbohydrate. If your goal is to help your performance improve, focus on getting at least 70% quality carbohydrates from your diet, in addition to good sources of protein.
The more intensity you have in your running, the more carbohydrates you will need to plan accordingly. Do not focus to lose weight and gain fitness at the same time because those two don’t go well together and you can get yourself in a trouble.
Stretch to prevent injuries and feel good
After jogging exercise can make a difference. If you have been running hard, your muscles will likely feel sore and tight. Stretching can release some of the pressure you have in your body and not only make you feel better but also it can reduce the risk of injuries.
Try to stretch for 30-40 sec each muscle that feels tight. Repeat again if you don’t feel a bit of relief. Good exercises to try on are hip flexor, wall push, knee hug, child’s pose, seated hamstrings.
Take a nap
Sleeping is critical for runners. Each damaged cell of your body is rebuilding during sleeping. Moreover, hormones play a huge role for your body which is trying to absorb the hard work you’ve been putting. If you don’t sleep, you increase the risk of injuries and decrease your performance. Taking a nap after a run will make your body feel so much better. If you have a chance to nap, definitely go for it.
Post-run activities to promote your mental health
A lot of runners don’t pay enough attention to their mental health but feeling good and balanced as a whole is essential not only for running but for life. If you feel mentally well and energized, you are able to do so much. You are motivated and ready for the challenges you may face. However, many of us forget to do what is necessary to maintain the balance between running hard and feeling our best selves.
Take a break from running thoughts
We are often obsessed with thinking about running. Especially nowadays when we have so many apps that make us compare ourselves constantly. Although it is fun to see what others are doing, it could go the other way around and it could make us feel down.
Thus, try to take a step back and think about something that makes you truly happy and is not related to your running life. Find a hobby that takes you away from running for a while. Anything that consumes too much energy in your life is not a healthy relationship. Don’t allow running to become one of those.
Enjoy a meal or a drink
Although runners tend to live what is considered a ‘healthy life’, sometimes we become way too strict to the extent that is damaging for our body. You don’t need to completely limit anything in your life to run fast. You just have to find the balance. Having a drink or junk meal occasionally can only make you feel better and help you to refresh your mind.
It's totally fine to take a BREAK
If you feel like something is not okay in your life right now, either physically or mentally, it’s is totally fine to take a step back and give yourself time. Runners are tough and we believe that running constantly through rough patches in our lives demonstrates our strength.
However, the truth is quite opposite. We show strength when we know when it’s time to stop and have the confidence that we can rebuild our life again. Don’t fear to take a break and come back to running later for any reason. The break is what your mind or body may really need to become stronger.
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