5 Ways Runners Get Recovery Wrong

First, "Oxidative stress is essential to the development and optimal function of every cell," write Peternelj and Coombes in their research.

In the context of exercise, these reactive oxygen species are part of the stress on your body that induces improvement. Blunting that oxidative stress will lead to less adaptation from the stress.

Moreover, further research has demonstrated that Vitamin C supplementation prevents the creation of mitochondria, the "power plants" of your muscle cells that are essential for endurance performance.

Therefore, loading up on antioxidants after a workout is not recommended. You should still eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that provide a healthy, natural source of antioxidants, but skip the pills.

More: 16 Colorful Foods You Should Add to Your Diet

You Don't Eat What You Should After Workouts

Providing your body with the right nutrients to recover after a hard workout is essential to repairing muscle fibers and stimulating recovery.

Many scientific studies have determined the amount and ratio of nutrients needed as well as the recommended window of time for refueling in order to maximize the recovery process.

More: Nutrition Recovery for Endurance Athletes

Ideally, nutrient intake should begin at least 30 minutes after you finish your run, and continue for about 60 to 90 minutes after. During this time, you should consume a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. This means that for every 4 grams of carbs you consume, you also need 1 gram of protein.

The first mistake many runners make is not eating anything within this recovery window. The most common reasons include: not being prepared with something to eat or drink, inability to stomach foods after a hard run, or believing that fasting after a workout will help them lose weight.

To optimize recovery after a workout, you must eat within 1 hour, ideally within 30 minutes. If you can't stomach solid foods, try recovery beverages or even chocolate milk.

More: 10 Post-Run Drinks to Fuel Fast Recovery

The second, and more common, mistake is the consumption of too much protein post-workout. Runners tend to be hard-wired to think that more is better. But this isn't the case when it comes to post-workout protein.

The consumption of too much protein after a workout will inhibit your body's absorption of carbohydrates by slowing the gastric emptying rate. That's why the optimal refueling ratio is set at 4 to 1. You should aim for 100 to 300 calories total from protein and carbs.

More: Active Cookbook: Best Pre- and Post-Run Snacks

You Don't Stretch, Foam Roll or Get Massages

The concept of stretching has caught some major flak in the past few years—and rightfully so. The result: Many runners finish a workout without properly treating their muscles.

There's a tendency to lump all types of "stretching" into one big group led by static stretching; however, not all types of stretching are bad.

In fact, other types of "stretching" such as yoga, mobility drills, active isolated stretching, and even foam rolling and the stick can be immensely helpful for promoting recovery.

More: Active Isolated Stretching Exercises

Incorporating dynamic stretching—active isolated stretching, drills and mobility exercises—after a run improves flexibility, and helps you execute biomechanically sound movement patterns, such as proper hip extension, when running.

More: 10 Self-Myofascial Release Exercises for Runners

Drills and mobility exercises also improve neuromuscular function, and can serve as a cool down that delivers blood and oxygen to muscles in need of repair.

More: The 4 Best Drills to Improve Your Running

You must expand your concept of stretching to better understand how it fits in with your recovery from hard workouts.

More: 3 Must-Do Active Isolated Flexibility Routines for Runners

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