I’m gearing up for my last half-marathon of the season this Sunday, so this post is one that I’ve thought about writing every single time I finish a long run.
First off let’s consider what a long run is, because it can vary from person to person. For some people 4 miles is a long run, for others they might not think of a run as long until it’s over 15 miles, or more. It really depends on the person and their training load.
For me, anything 12k or longer I consider a long run because unless I am training for a half, I never exceed 10k on my own regular runs.
Having said that, these 3 items/tips can be used after any run, regardless of the length and you will benefit from them. Even if you haven’t run at all but are feeling tired and sore from another form of exercise, these can also serve you well then.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started!
When you’ve been out for over an hour, or running in the heat, it’s really important to not only replenish with water, but also your electrolytes. There are lots of options out there for electrolyte replenishment, but my favourite is Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator
I normally get the big bucket versus the individual packet shown above, but they are awesome for travel. Why do I like it? It tastes good (I get the berry), is sweetened with stevia versus sugar, gives a great dose of electrolytes and isn’t filled with a bunch of un-needed chemicals. As I say there are lots of different products on the market, so it’s a pretty individual choice but the main thing is – get yo’self hydrated!
A Bath (ice, warm, or epsom – you choose)
I’m not keen on the whole ice bath thing for me individually. Because I have fibromyalgia I mind temperature changes more than most people, so to plunge into an ice bath after a long run is going to be counter productive for me. But many swear on it to help combat muscle soreness.
Another option is just a good old fashioned warm bath. This is my go-to, partly because I get cold so easily and it’s the only way I feel I can get warm after a long run, but also because I find it relaxing and I always feel so much better afterwards.
Epsom salts are still a bit of an “unknown” in that studies haven’t been able to concretely prove that they help reduce muscle soreness. In order to truly get the benefit of the epsom salts you need a fairly high concentration within the bath, and you need to stay in it for a pretty long time. I often throw a handful in after a long run, but I know I don’t put enough in or stay in long enough for it to truly make a difference. I don’t actually care if the perceived results are psychosomatic, as long as it seems to work I’m happy!
Oh my gosh, I love me some compression socks after a long run. They make my calves so very happy! Compression socks help to increase circulation, inhibit swelling and alleviate leg achiness and soreness <– all of which you have after a long run.
I’ve been wearing compression socks for years, but recently have been using VIM & VIGR post-run for recovery and I am in love!
What makes these different? First of all they are nylon, and well – quite a bit more fashionable than the clearly athletic compression socks I normally wear. You could easily wear these with boots or flats without looking like someone who is trying to get away with wearing compression socks.
Cuteness aside, one complaint I often have about compression socks is that I find they are too tight in the toe box to be truly comfortable – not the case with these. My toes can wiggle all they like. 🙂 I also really appreciate the graduated pressure built into the socks making them tightest at the ankle and reducing in compression as they go higher.
Would I wear these while running? I don’t think so. I’m sure you could, but I have lots of other compression socks to wear while on the road, so I’m going to save these for looking cute during recovery!
This didn’t make my top three, but another post-run must have for me is definitely some fascia release (especially if you want to be mobile the next day!)
Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of VIM & VIGR compression socks free of charge, all opinions are my own.