The Importance of Recovery for Runners

It is said that running is a simple sport; you basically put on a pair of running shoes, step out the door and you run. At its core yes, running is quite simple, it’s accessible, it doesn’t require a lot of gears and for most people it is just a matter of finding a road or a trail in close proximity to your house or apartment. However, if you keep on approaching your running this way you will eventually get injured. Like most athletes practicing other sports, runners are not immune to injuries, but then again, so do non-athletes and sedentary people. As a matter of fact, I know more sedentary individuals with back problems, knee problems and hip problems then runners. Now, having said that, there is light at the end of the tunnel as there are ways to minimize your chances of getting injured. Today, I will touch on the subject of active recovery and how I approach it myself in my day to day training. When a personal trainer or coach tells you it is important for you to take rest days every week it doesn’t mean sitting on your behind for twelve hours doing a Netflix marathon. What do I mean by active recovery? Well active recovery can take many forms, it could mean going for a nature walk or a hike instead of going for a run that day. It also means fueling your body properly, giving it all the nutrients and micronutrients it needs in order to heal; I personally use an app called “myfitnesspal” to log my food to get a better understanding of what could be missing in my diet. Funny enough, your active recovery can even begin before your workout. For instance, I use a foam roller prior to every run and I do some active stretches to warmup. After a run, I foam roll again and I use a variety of tools such as YogaTuneUp balls, a Pro-tec EVA foam ball and massage stick to target areas that are harder to get at. I concentrate mostly on the gluteus, quads, gastrocnemius (calf), IT Band (outer leg above the knee), inner thighs and hip areas. I don’t forget to lightly roll the hamstrings, but I my case, it is a problem area; high mileage runners tend to have over stretched hamstrings causing problems with their running dynamics. Deep stretching that area is the last thing I need. Recovery can also mean cross training; for example, you can take a spin class, a yoga class or do some light strength training. For strength training, you don’t even need to go to a gym if you don’t want to. There are plenty of highly effective body weight excersises you can do in the comfort of your own house. Strengthening the muscle groups around your joints will protect them against the impact running and everyday life has on them. Try to make strength training an integral part of your training, it will only make you a better and faster runner in the long run… Pun intended 😉

About Janik Lamontagne

Janik Lamontagne is a Canadian west coast vegan marathoner and world traveller with a passion for the betterment of health through exercise, nutrition and technology while promoting a vegan lifestyle for the betterment of animal welfare and stewardship of planet earth.