Do you struggle to take a rest from running? The latest recovery activitieswill help to recharge and rebuild your body
The key to running wellmay be to runconsistently. But refusingto take time out for rest?That’s a different story. Theminutes, hours and days you spendaway from running allow your body torecover. Rest enables your muscles andendocrine and immune systems toregenerate. It reduces fatigue, boostsyour body’s adaptation to exercise andlowers the risk of injury. Still, it’s notunusual to finish a race (often amarathon) and feel so elated that youimmediately start training for the nextone. Stop right there. Rest days don’thave to be dull and sluggish. In fact,research in the Journal of Science andMedicine in Sport suggests that activerecovery (light, non-running exercise) ismore effective than complete rest. Plus,a break from running will help to improveyour long-term jogging fitness. Try thesenew-age hacks to help your body getover a tough run.
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FACT: you don’t need to book in witha masseuse to get a sports massage.Power Plates – aka the vibratingplatforms that sit in the corner of yourgym – can be used to relieve muscleaches and pains after a tough run.While many fitbies will use the PowerPlate as part of an exercise routine,you can use it to aid recovery. Here’show it works: the vibrations boostnutrient and oxygen-rich blood toworked muscles, helping to flush outwaste products.Need proof? Researchers from theLoma Linda University in Americafound that exercisers who massagedtired arms on a Power Plate set to ahigh level recovered significantlybetter than those who didn’t massageor who used the plate on a lowsetting. Steve Powell, director ofeducation at Performance HealthSystems, recommends the followingmoves for runners.
Sit on a foam roller on aPower Plate and crossyour right leg over yourleft then reach back toplace your right handon the floor. Slowly rollback and forth on theroller, using your armand legs to control themovement. Repeat onyour left side.
Lie on your back on the floor withthe backs of your calves restingon the Power Plate. Massage for60 seconds on each side on asetting of 30-40Hz, low or high.
Yoga is often touted as a great recoveryactivity for runners as it addressesstructural imbalances by strengtheningweak muscles and lengthening tightmuscles. But TRX training and yoga? Now,that’s a winning combination.‘The TRX is particularly good for runnersbecause it will help build strength in yourlegs while working your whole body inseveral planes of movement. Thiscounteracts the repetitive forward runningmotion that can cause muscle imbalancesand injuries,’ says Matt Gleed, TRX seniormaster trainer. ‘The yoga-style exercisesbelow will also lengthen as well asstrengthen your muscles, giving youfreedom of movement. This encouragesgreater flexibility, especially in commontight spots for runners.’
Stretches the hipflexor and quadricepsmuscles.Start in a low lungeposition with thestraps set at midlength. Face away from your anchor pointplace one foot into the foot cradle andkeep your other foot on the floor. Adjustyour hips so that they face forwards. Ifpossible, bend your back knee and reachthe same hand back to grab either thestraps or the handle.
TRX WARRIOR II
Strengthens andstretches your legs.The TRX addsstability.Stand beneath youranchor point with onehand on each handle. Step forwards into alunge position and then turn your back footout to 90 degrees. Press down into thehandles to engage your shoulder blades.Turn your head so you’re looking over yourfront fingertips.
In the days following a big race, sidelinerunning for walking. A gentle walk will notonly boost blood flow around your body,which aids recovery, it will also appeal torunners who love to spend time outdoors.The catch? If you’re recovering from a longrun, such as a marathon, your feet are likelyto be tired. It’s not just quadricep and calfmuscles that become fatigued – the tinymuscles and soft tissue in your feet tire too.But, wearing a supportive pair of sandalscould improve your alignment, reducingstress on your shins, knees and hips. ‘Assoon as you finish the race, take off yourshoes and cool your feet down. Whenwalking, change into a pair of low impactshoes, such as OOFOS flip-flops (oofos.co.uk), which absorb 37 per cent moreshock than traditional running shoes andhave great support for your arches,’ saysTroy Bradley, Functional Osteopath andMovement Specialist at 3DFC (3dfc.co.uk)in Brighton. The result? You’ll feel refreshedon your next run. Winner.
PUT YOUR FEET UP!
Want a total rest from activity? Try these non-exercise recovery methods from Fitness First PT Simon Cowen.
Fill the bath with ice and cold water and submerge your lower body for 15 minutes. The cold water will help to ease sore muscles and increase recovery time.
During a marathon, your body’s muscles and joints experience wear and tear. Getting a good night’s rest will help speed up the recovery process – aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
As soon as you cross the finish line, it’s important to refuel your body. Opt for energy gels, energy drinks or carbohydrate-dense fruit.
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