We mention the importance of recovery because it is essential to be a successful runner. Even from the moment you leave for the first run, you have to think about recovery. There are many different types of recovery you need to be aware of: days of rest, active recovery and recovery after injury.
The first is something that we must all do. Taking a fixed number of days of rest each week is one of the easiest ways to prevent injury and excess. When you run first, we advise you never run for consecutive days. You can cross-train days after a run, but make sure you rest completely at least twice a week.
This allows your body to heal any tears and soreness in your muscles that will help you become a stronger runner in the long run. These days of rest you can stretch your muscles if they are tired and have a hot bath to help recover.
You can begin to hear about active recovery when you start running more and more. This is usually related only to long distance running, in particular half marathons and marathons. This happens when you run a few easy miles a day after a long session. This helps to prevent muscles from tightening and to remove waste products from the legs.
It’s unlikely that you will have to worry about active recovery when you start running first. However, you may find that doing something active helps to reduce the muscles of pain, so consider swimming or walking on your days of rest when you have built a strong base.
It is also important to recover after a race, because you tend to run faster than usual so you have to recover more. A general rule of thumb is that you should take one day of rest for every mile of the race so that a clear 3 days before running again is recommended as a rest time for a 5 K, which is 3.1 miles.
By taking rest days, you can prevent injuries caused by overtraining, but none of us is immune from other minor injuries such as pulled muscles, shiny splints, twisted ankles and sore knees. These injuries tend to heal themselves in a week to a month, but stop running when you feel something hurt.
Take the area that hurts if there is inflammation for a few days of total rest and ice. Gently stretch the area to help recover. When the pain subsides, you can try cross- training to reinforce the area, but do not try to run until you can walk comfortably without pain.
As part of the recovery process, you have to step back. You can’t go back straight where you left off. For your first run, take walking breaks and leave only half the time or distance you did when you were injured. You can start building up your distance and time during the next few weeks until you are back to normal.
The more serious the injury, the more time you need to recover. Listen to your doctor for sprains, tears and breaks, as they will tell you when you are ready to go back to work. It takes only two weeks for your fitness to start dropping, but you can recover faster than from scratch. The key is your body’s listening.