Training Mistake: Poor Recovery Habits
The Fix: Refuel, Rest and Hydrate
You can follow the above training tips to a tee and still find yourself slow, tired and battling injury. The culprit: Poor recovery habits. Not every runner can train for an hour or more, six days a week, and still have time for adequate rest and nutrition. Running yourself ragged won’t make you a stronger runner; it will make you an injured runner. It’s better to cut your weekly mileage or the number of days you train and spend that extra time on good recovery habits.
Good recovery isn’t rocket science, but it does need to be intentional. If your post-workout meal is a candy bar or a burger and a beer, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Make it a rule to bring a high-quality recovery snack or meal with you to every workout. Aim for a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, and base the number of calories on the workout you just finished. If one of your goals for running is to lose weight, then make sure that your post-workout meal is just that—one of your meals—and not in addition to the calories you’re already consuming.
The best thing you can do for your running, other than running, is sleep.
Hydration and electrolyte replacement are also important, especially after long or very intense runs. Occasionally weigh yourself immediately before and after a run to get an idea of how much fluid you lose through sweat. Aim to drink that much or a little more during and immediately after each workout. If you’re working at a high intensity for more than 30 minutes—or a moderate intensity for an hour or more—be sure your post-workout meal or beverage contains key electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium.
Finally, the best thing you can do for your running, other than running, is sleep. That’s when your body’s hormonal system goes to work repairing tissues and creating the favorable metabolic changes you’re after. So skip that third episode on Netflix, put down your phone, turn out the light and smile as you drift off to sleep, knowing that your body is busy making you a better runner.