The Post Long Run Checklist For Runners

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A couple of days ago I shared the pre long run checklist for runners, and today as we lead into the weekend for our next long run, here is the post long run checklist that I follow. After a long run, we all get that mental fog, so a post long run checklist like this keeps me on track to recover well and make the most of all the hard work in the long run. After all, recovery after the workout is just as important as the workout itself!

Here’s the checklist that I having been following:

Post Run Hydration, Nutrition & Hygiene: As soon as I finish my run, without wasting any time, I first drink 500 ml of water which is specifically kept for post run. I then have my whey protein which kills my hunger for the time being and ofcourse its most effective at that time only. The next thing I do is change into a fresh t-shirt and wear a jacket to keep me warm. All these 3 steps are important and have their own significance to post run recovery.

Post Run Stretches: I know a lot of us want to immediately head back home after spending 2-3 hours on a run, but this is a MUST. Performing stretching exercises after a run will help cool down the body gradually. Cool down stretches must be done while the muscles are still warm and elastic. Not doing stretches will only lead to muscle tightness and soreness. DO NOT skip this step however short of time you are.

Legs Up The Wall Pose – Viparita Karani is often called Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, but viparita actually means “inverted,” and karani means “in action.” Once you are home, put your legs up the wall with your pelvis elevated on a folded blanket. The lymph and other fluids that can lead to swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs flow into the lower belly which refreshes the legs and the reproductive area. This pose also gives blood circulation a gentle boost toward the upper body and head, which creates a pleasant rebalancing after you have been running for so long.

Icing: Another important aspect of recovery is to ice the areas which have been under stress like the foot, ankle, shin and knee. Dip the feet in an ice filled buckets for 15 mins and that will relieve you of all the strain. 

Foam Rolling: Foam rolling has been my life line for a long time now. I was introduced to foam rolling post my knee surgery as one of the rehabilitation steps. I have a love and hate relationship with the foam roller. I hate it while using it, but I love it the next day when I recover free of any pain or strain in the body.

Water & Electrolytes: After sweating so much during the run, we lose electrolytes (calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium). Electrolyte imbalances can cause dehydration, fatigue, cramping, GI distress, and worse. An easy and natural way to replenish the body of the electrolytes is to drink coconut water. Keep drinking fluids in the form of water, coconut water, buttermilk, fresh lime juice throughout the day and the next day!

Recovery Run: Depending on which stage of the training program you are in and how many kms you are putting in per week, you might be advised by your Coach to do a recovery run the day post your long run. In the intial days of training, I didnt give it much importance, but later I recognized its value.

Nutrition & Food: Meals rich in carbohydrates and proteins are important after a strenuous workout as they will start glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery. Having tea or coffee with a meal also aids in better glycogen resynthesis. Having good nutrition dense meals will aid in faster recovery.

    With experience over a period of a year of training, I have adopted most of these steps as a habit but to be honest, its not completely possible to follow all the steps. There are other priorities which have to be attended to. But following most of these have kept me from injuries and most importantly recover feeling fresh the next day, raring to go for my next training run. 

    What are your priorities after a long run? How do you recover after a hard workout?

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