Four essential running recovery tips from an Olympian runner

Improve your running performance and prevent injuries by following these four simple tips

Man stretching after a run
(Image credit: Getty)

As great as running is for our physical and mental health, it can also put a lot of strain and stress on the body and mind. So, as soon as you finish yours and unlace your best running shoes, it’s key you put some actions in place that will help you make a speedy recovery. Luckily, Great Britain 800 metre runner, Alexandra Bell, has shared her top four recovery tips and one involves a banana milkshake — yummy!

According to Runners Blueprint running recovery is more than just lounging on the sofa or taking a break: “It involves a series of actions that help your body and mind heal and rebuild after an intense workout." Getting the right recovery can not only help prevent injuries for your future runs, but it will also help improve your overall running performance and endurance.

Whether it be a jog, parkrun or a marathon these tips will help your body replenish, rest and recover. Be sure to give them a go the next you head out to pound the pavement.

1. Have a post-recovery snack

Just like with any type of training, replenishing your body with good nutrients can help your body and muscles recover, speeding up your recovery process. Think of it like a car, after a long journey you need to fill it up, otherwise it will eventually break down. The same applies to your body. Alexandra recommends a banana, a shake, or even a banana milkshake — studies show they're great at reducing inflammation and improve metabolic recovery.

Tip 2: Give your body some 'TLC'

Did you know that a force of up to three times your body weight can be placed on the human foot while running? It's no wonder your body may feel battered afterwards. Make sure you give it some well-deserved love and care by doing a good stretch (these three yoga poses will improve stability and prevent injury) . Alexandra also recommends using a foam roller, as these are ideal (and cheap) for smoothing away aches and pains. 

Tip 3: Leave enough time between your runs

This will differ for everyone as it really depends on the load and intensity of your workout. For example, newbie runners may need a day or two before taking on another run, whereas more experienced runners may be able to run twice a day a couple of times a week, and then do some recovery runs in between. The point is to make sure you take the right recovery time that you need and to make the most of it.

Tip 4: Don't be afraid to rest

As Alexandra rightly puts it "rest is also training" and it's actually something many people may struggle to accept. So, don't be afraid to take an extra day off from your training if it's needed. If you jump back into your training not fully recovered all you'll be doing is increasing your risk of injury and slow your recovery time. Listen to your body and go again when you feel ready.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.