Running is one of the healthiest activities out there, but it’s also a high impact exercise that puts your body under a lot of stress. Not only that, but as you approach the end of your exercise, your body is more vulnerable to injuries and issues that can keep you off the track for a long period of time if you’re not careful enough. For that reason, recovery is one of the most important aspects once you’ve successfully finished your workout.
One of the most overlooked aspects of running is what you need to do after you’re finished exercising. A lot of runners will look for all the tips and recommendations on what to do post workouts. However, you should also give “what not to do after running” an equal level of attention and care.
If you want to know more about the things that you should absolutely avoid once you’re done running, you’re in for a treat! In today’s article, we’ll guide you through 5 valuable tips that you should always keep in mind while recovering after runs in order to avoid injuries and speed up your recovery. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
- What Not to Do After Running
- What Is the Best Thing to Do After You Run?
- Is It Good to Walk After a Run?
- Is It Good to Sit Down After Running?
What Not to Do After Running
After running, you should always avoid habits that can either harm your workout or put your body at risk of injuries. For example, skipping the cooldown period and jumping straight into heavy daily chores can cause a lot of problems for you. Poor nutritional choices after running will also hold you back.
Additionally, never end your workout without replenishing your electrolyte and hydration levels or doing too much foam rolling because it can bring you more harm than good.
1. Skipping the Cooldown Phase
Running is split into multiple phases, including the loading phase as well as the high intensity phase, the maintenance phase, and the cooldown phase. The cooldown phase is actually the period after running your target or record.
While resting after running is good for your body, ending your workout suddenly and becoming a couch potato is not the best way to help your body recover. Instead, you want to maintain some sort of light activity for the best recovery results.
2. Making Poor Nutritional Choices
Another extremely common mistake that many runners do after a session is eating whatever they come across. Although eating after a workout is a good thing to do, you should still keep track of the number of calories you consume, because you may end up consuming too many calories and end up gaining weight, especially if you consume sweets and fast food after running.
3. Staying Dehydrated
While running, you produce a lot of sweat, and therefore, lose a lot of electrolytes and moisture. According to studies, electrolyte imbalance can be extremely dangerous and cause a wide range of health issues. Always make sure that you replenish your hydration levels with water as well as electrolyte mixes.
4. Overdoing or Skipping Recovery Workouts
Post-workout recovery using foam rollers helps in speeding up your recovery, so you shouldn’t skip them even after a light run. Yet, too much foam rolling can actually cause bruising and necessary pain. A treadmill can be a great tool for a consistent pace when doing a recovery run.
5. Keeping the Running Gear on
After a long running session, the sweat on your running clothes will cause bacteria to multiply, increasing your risk of skin infections and irritation. For that reason, always change your clothes and take a quick shower when you’re done.
What Is the Best Thing to Do After You Run?
After a successful running session, the first thing you should consider doing is static stretches. These are simple exercises that will help in getting rid of lactic acid that causes sore muscles after running. After that, make sure that you drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks. Next, take a shower.
As soon as you get back home, take off your clothes and shower after running, then switch into loose clothes that don’t put a lot of pressure on your muscles. This will help avoid icky infections and make you more comfortable. It’s equally to replenish your hydration levels – either with a sports drink with electrolytes or simply water. Be careful with calories, however. You’d hate to negate the weight loss benefits of the run.
Lastly, have a quick yet balanced meal that has all the essential macro and micronutrients for your day. Getting enough sleep for the day is also essential for your muscle recovery, so if you’re an evening runner, make sure that you don’t stay up for long. Running works a lot of major muscle groups so it’s important to take care of yourself in the off time.
Is It Good to Walk After a Run?
As previously mentioned, bringing the running session to an abrupt stop is not that good for you, which is why light static stretches are usually recommended. An alternative is to walk for around 5 to 10 minutes after your running sessions. This light recovery will help you be less sore and ready to go next time.
Since walking works the same muscles as running but less intensely, it encourages the body to get rid of lactic acid, which reduces the soreness of the muscles and helps in speeding up the recovery phase.
Is It Good to Sit Down After Running?
Ideally, you should avoid sitting down immediately after running because the sudden reduction of muscle activity can make you drowsy. In fact, some people might even faint if they’ve been running at high speeds and immediately stop.
This is because while running, your heart is working hard to pump enough blood to your lower leg muscles. However, when you suddenly stop, the heart slows down quickly, leaving a lot of blood in your lower half, reducing the brain’s supply of blood.
To avoid this problem, it’s recommended that you stay lightly active for around 5 minutes after running and reduce your activity gradually until your heart rate is back to normal. This is especially important if running on a treadmill. After a treadmill session, it’s common to feel weird when coming to an abrupt stop.
This wraps it up for today’s guide that walks you through what not to do after running. As you can see, running is one of the best activities to stay in shape and strengthen your lower body muscles. Yet a proper post workout routine is highly necessary if you want to make the most out of such intense exercise. Hydration is very important both before a run (especially in the morning) and also after a run to help the body recover.
For that reason, remember to include a cooldown phase in your session and make sure that you watch what you eat or drink during the recovery phase.