Runner's Footprints

Runner's Footprints

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How to Recover Faster

Once we embrace the joy of running, we find ourselves looking forward to lacing up again for the next run, speed session, or mountain escape. The rate of our recovery determines how fast we can get back out there doing what we enjoy, and this rate of recovery is unique for each individual. When an individual introduces a new training stimulus, increases training volume, or as we grow older, the rate of recovery slows down and requires more attention. The good news is we have the power to influence our rate of recovery at any stage of life or training. Paying attention to recovery allows us to train safely, while minimizing the risk of injury. There are three areas in our recovery: 1) physiological, 2) neural, and 3) psychological. Here are 10 strategies to improve your rate of recovery.

1. Active recovery - Incorporate low intensity or low impact days into your weekly routine such as elliptical, cycling, swimming, and walking. Because of the influx of feel good chemicals that flush into our body during and post workout, we may want to go hard everyday. However, active recovery helps flush soreness or compounding fatigue out of the legs.

2. Foam rolling / dynamic stretching / mobility drills - activation exercises in a gentle manner focusing on proper form helps with circulation and flushing the legs. 

3. Elevate legs - After a difficult training session or at the end of the work day, this allows the blood to recirculate back through the upper body systems so there isn't an accumulation of inflammatory factors in the lower extremities. 

4. Compression gear - From compression leggings, socks and sleeves, there is data showing this gear helps improve circulation. It has been in the past prescribed for pregnant women, individuals will poor circulatory problems in their legs, and also frequent air travelers. Another great addition to recovery is what you wear on your feet when you are not training. The ballerina shoes, thin flip flops, and very high heels above 3" are very taxing on the proper posture of the body and joints. My entire family (except brother, he'll learn once he gets older) uses OOFOS recovery sandals and shoes as lifestyle wear as it helps absorbs 37% of the impact saving your joints. 

5. Refuel wholesomely - What you eat post workout gives your body the building blocks to rebuild for your next workout. Choose wholesome snacks and balanced meals. We may want to indulge in the burger, pizza, or fries -- but remember these items are broken down then used as building blocks to build your tissues, organ systems, and process cellular mechanisms. We wouldn't put cheap gas in a ferrari. Also, supplementation is helpful to fill in any gaps. I use the convenient, pre-packaged Vital4U supplements and fiber everyday to support my microbiome. (promo NADIA saves 15% off first time orders). Opt to be built from healthy fuel choices. Be the ferrari.

6. Hydrate frequently - The viscosity of our blood is influenced by how much we drink and what we drink. The more water and electrolytes we consume (such as Liquid IV), the lower the viscosity of our blood allowing it to flow freely in our circulatory system. Think of it as a free flowing freeway clear of any accidents. We don't want accidents within our circulatory system due to congestion from high viscosity. Drink water frequently.

7. Stress management / meditation - Chronic stress causes a physiological response in our bodies and the longer we don't manage it daily, the more it can cause damage within our organ systems thereby slowing down our healing and recovery process. The stress hormone, cortisol, has a purpose in our bodies; however, continuous elevated cortisol levels makes us immuno-compromised. Incorporate activities that help you unwind. You deserve at least 30 minutes daily to yourself everyday to exhale. The more you give yourself, the more you are able to serve others.

8. Ice baths - Data shows that after intense training sessions or competitions, ice baths help reduce the inflammatory response by constricting blood vessels so inflammatory factors don't leak into the body. Opt for 10-15 minutes in an ice bath if you can tolerate it soon after high intensity training.

9. Epson salt baths - Warm salt baths are relaxing, soothing, and the salinity has been shown to have restorative effects.

10. Sleep - The amount and quality of sleep impacts our energy levels, regeneration rates, and immunity among other factors. Sleep is the golden ticket to increased health in a variety of ways. Invest in a quality mattress (such as lull), pillows, and skip the late night TV watching to be able to go to bed earlier. Investment in your sleep has the greatest return in your body.


All of the above strategies are relatively low cost and can be done easily at home. There is more that we can still do for our bodies! I sincerely believe in investing in our health and wellness because the return is substantially more in lower health care costs, lower rates of injury, and overall a higher quality of life. Here are some more strategies you can incorporate into your wellness routine. 

11. Cyrotherapy - This is the new craze that has public figures and influencers radiating about it's amazing benefits. There is limited data on it's true physiological impact; however, there is a large amount of anecdotal reports of it helping individuals feel better and recover faster. It could be worth a try. 

12. Sensory Deprivation Tank - There is substantial data showing how creating a space to be one with our thoughts has a deep impact. You float in a warm, high salinity bath within your own private room that has meditation music that fades out if you wish. For me, I feel as if I'm floating in outer space where I get to unplug, slow down, and think about my thoughts. I highly recommend it. (promo NADIA25 saves 25% off at Just Float in Pasadena)

13. Acupuncture - Thousands of year of eastern medicine have practiced and documented the benefits of acupuncture for its healing, preventive, and treatment benefits. I've incorporated it for over a decade into my regular wellness routine. Once a month at least for maintenance; once or twice a week when I am injured or nursing an ailment. 

14. Sports medicine chiropractor - There are different forms of physical therapy and a chiropractor who is trained to understand the science of an athlete's needs is important. For maintenance, I aim for once per month; during high training periods, I usually opt for once per week. My trusted chiropractor are Dr. Andrew Lopez and Dr. Edgar Rodriguez in Pico Rivera.   

15. Sports massage therapist - Body work is extremely beneficial for regular maintenance, injury prevention, or treatment of muscular imbalances. During my peak training seasons, sports massages are crucial weekly. Referrals of great therapists work best. My dependable massage therapist is Franco Bodywork in Highland Park.

16. Compression boots - Similar to compression gear with a high twist. They immensely help increase circulation therefore recovery. Owning my own pair of Elevated Legs, I aim to use them 3x/week 30-90 minutes at a time.

17. Percussive tools - Self massage tools are very helpful in adding to your arsenal of recovery tools such as the Theragun now by Therabody. I use it daily pre runs for mobility activation and post runs for recovery. Email me for a personalized link / code for a discount on any of their devices.

Please feel free to share if you feel anyone could benefit from the info above and also contact me if you're looking for an endurance coach to help you with a training strategy to build during the off season or keep you accountable with science based training. Take care of your body. We only get one. Thank you for reading! 

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