How to Recover Smartly

Sahara holding a foam roller and resistance band

Recovery is just as important as getting in those speed days even if we sometimes feel like we should be doing some sort of workout on our complete rest days. I'm the type of person who sees someone running while I'm on my rest day and wish I were out running like I don't train 6 times a week with only one day off for rest. I'm honestly happiest when I'm running or working out because every week I get stronger and the whole progression of getting stronger is just mind-blowing to me. Consistency is the key, always.

My general schedule used to be 3 days running [ Track workout, tempo run, long run]  and 3 days core strength and leg strength + stability workouts. Now, I run 2 times a week [speed workout + temp run/long run) and do core strength and leg strength + stability workouts 4 times a week. This change is mainly because me being on my job search means I feel like I had to run less to focus more on it. Anyways, so what am I doing when I'm not running or doing a leg strength workout that has me waddling like a penguin after?

ACTIVE RECOVERY!


I try to stretch as much as possible, the worst thing is sore muscles and feeling stiff. Do I sometimes neglect my night time and early morning stretching? Yes! Quite literally as I'm writing this I feel my Hamstrings and IT band calling my attention like excuse me, where is my extra lovin'? So here are a list of stretches I do to aid my recovery - I try to do them daily but as I mentioned sometimes I get a little lazy with my stretching, but! I'm going to try to get better at it one day at a time.

Nighttime Stretching


Now, once it hits nighttime we definitely just want to sleep but hold on a second! Your muscles need some attention, especially if you've just had a hard workout. Even if you've had a light workout, it's really important to take care of your muscles all day every day. If you're coming from my training tips post, you'll most likely remember the name Chari Hawkins. She talks a lot about recovery and shows some of what she does on her Instagram. I personally need to get back in the habit of doing this, I do some stretches daily but I could be doing more!

Here's a nighttime stretching routine I screen recorded from her instagram stories: Night Time Stretch With Chari 

long bnd resistance band around ankles

Resistance Band for Warm Up


Who here has been neglecting their resistance band? Same, welcome to the club! Are we going to change that today? Well, I am. I am planning to do all these recovery videos once I finish typing. I personally have one long resistance band and then loop it to make it like a smaller one - it's like a 2 for one deal! Mine is from BN_D in the Khaki/Medium. Now if your glutes are in need of some help, this warm up is for you - all you need is a resistance band and loop it above your ankles - and I'll let Georganne Moline take it from here.

Here is a Monday Pro tip she gave in July (ya girl is very dedicated to screen recording every tip I come across on Instagram to watch back when in need if you haven't noticed): Glute Warm Up with Georganne Moline

Also in July, Chari Hawkins mentioned she always makes sure her Glutes are activated and showed how via Instagram: Activate Your Glutes with Chari Hawkins

~ a brief intermission ~


Okay I don't know if this video can be considered recovery but does strengthening legs with jumping so you have stronger legs as you're running count? It's something I've been meaning to add into my training days so I suppose it's not really recovery but.... enjoy: Jump with Chari (you need no equipment, just yourself and an open space to jump around in!)

Knee strengthening and stabilization, Glute Help, and ankle strengthening


If you have runners knees, I think this next video will be helpful.  Chari went through her routine and explained 3 stretches, some of which are also great for your hamstrings as well! -  Knee & Ankle Strengthening with Chari

She also went over releasing your glute - we have a lot of tension in there @ my running fam - with the Hyprice hypersphere however! you can also just use a regular tennis ball. Role on the tennis ball on your IT Band/thigh, it won't feel great but trust me, future you will be glad you did that. She also shows a good stretch for your hamstring too - Glute and Hamstring Stretch.

Future me is editing this post - I actually just finished doing this video and wow, my glutes are well loved. They've been sore since an intense leg workout the other day and this was just what I needed to massage my glues and hamstrings!

Hip Help


Who here has gotten hip flexor pain before? I once got really bad hip flexor pain and it wasn't even from running it was because I tried skateboarding and left my pushing leg behind - how does one leave a whole limb behind you ask? I have no the slightest clue. Clearly the only sport I should be doing is one that involves no equipment whatsoever. ANYWAYS - when that happened, I was out of running for literal weeks. All I knew was when I got better - and wasn't in pain - I had to strengthen my hip or do something so it wasn't so weak!

Georganne Moline did a Hip Opener on her Instagram Stories that I should really do again soon: Hip Opener Stretch

Chari Hawkins also did something on her Instagram story for hip flexors, quads, and hamstring stretches: Hip Flexor Stretch

Chari Hawkins also gave some stretching tips on her Instagram for your IT Band: IT Band Help.

Future me editing this post again: I just finished doing all three of these videos and my legs don't feel sore? They feel great? Like this was just what I needed? You can take this as your daily reminder to do at least some of these stretches daily/nightly so your muscles feel well taken cared of and not sore!

foam roller on yoga mat with on running sneakers, cloudswift

Shin Splint Help


And we're back with another Chari Hawkins Tip - do toe taps as you're sitting down relaxing etc. I personally have been doing this and between icing and this I like to think me and shin splints won't be meeting up for tea soon - Toe Taps with Chari.

Lower Back Pain and Stretches That Can Help


And we are closing out this recovery post with another Chari Hawkins Instagram Story - there are some hamstring stretches as well as glutes in this video - Helpful Back Pain Stretches.

And there we have it! Recovery tips from my two favorite Team USA athletes that I follow over on Instagram. I personally know I need to keep doing these stretches more often (I've been slacking a bit!) because I know that when my muscles feel stiff, these are the stretches I need to do to not feel so stiff! As I'm typing this, I just came back from a run and my IT Band is in need of some stretching, which reminds me, we have one more section.

Soreness Section


Right, I like to think we've all been in the sore neck life. I did the below YouTube video for a solid week every morning (2 times) and during the day heat pad, and then did the video 2 times at night. If you have a sore neck - I'd recommend changing your pillow, and also going on your back and resting the back of your neck on your foam roller if you don't have a muscle machine like the Hypervolt or the Theragun (I wish I had one of them, they sound like a blessing for sore muscles but my wallet laughed at the prices).

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Physio Neck Exercises Stretch and Relieve


What stretches do you do for recovery?

sahara end logo

26 comments:

  1. Love this! Running alone is not enough; we have to look out for our bodies as well as our minds, and make sure we are ready for the task at hand. Reducing one's amount of exercise in order to work in recovery is nothing to be ashamed of. ☺️

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    1. Glad to hear you've enjoyed reading! Running definitely includes a lot of moving parts in addition to running, as always recovery is just as important as getting a run in 100%!

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  2. This is so helpful! Thank you for these tips! I've been slowly working on stretches and my flexibility the last few weeks in hopes to eventually be able to do a splits! It's been really hard work but also really strangely fun! Definitely going to have to try some of these stretches!

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    1. Glad to hear my post was helpful! It's really amazing to see how much we improve day by day in stretching and flexibility, all we have to do is make the decision to start :) AH yes, I believe in you you got this! You'll be doing splits in no time!! The best thing about working towards something is the process/progress you make to reach your goal!

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  3. What a helpful post! I have sometimes hip and knee pains so I guess I should do more stretches to help. Will def try some of these. I love the feeling of stretching though, especially after sitting in front of the computer for extended periods of time.

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    1. Glad to hear it was helpful! Yes! It's super important to make sure we recover and do the stretches needed on the areas that need a bit more attention. The best thing is stretching after sitting down all day, perfect way to fully relax allll muscles!

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  4. I love my resistance band. So good not only for warming up but toning up!

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    1. Yesss! The resistance band is so so helpful for toning, stretching and for recovery too! A three for one deal :)

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  5. Thank you for putting this out there. I need a reminder to get my bootie moving again after my sciatica pain.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Interesting!! My recovery routine is quite unique. When I was about 13, I was getting horrific hip pains. After what felt like an eternity of getting countless x-rays and them telling me my hips were fine, an MRI eventually revealed that my hips were riddled with tiny stress fractures. A dexa told me that my done density in my hips was virtually non-existent. So, despite the hips supposedly being one of the strongest bones in the body, mine are my weakest. Even now over a decade later, I don't have the pains anymore, but I feel the impact in my hips the second I've over done it so I focus a lot on hip flexor movements in my recovery and always notice a massive difference when I've been lazy/ neglecting my stretching. Definitely been neglecting the resistance band side of things though. Need to add those back in! x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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    1. Ah wow they really took a while to help you figure out what was the issue! So hip strength + stretches must be top priority for you to make sure the pains don't come back as they were before, even if it hasn't come back to that as you mentioned it all comes down to if you've over worked yourself!

      The resistance band is also something I've been neglecting a little bit - I tend to focus a lot on my foam roller for recovery! - let's hope we both get back into the habit of using our resistance band daily!

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  7. You have the best life ever, my days sometimes goes without doing workout or anything. I think I need to start a schedule and a routine for myself. You are amazing and I think we should do stuff like that in our life. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. HAHA - a day without working out just feels so out of place for me! It's been ingrained in my schedule for so long, can't imagine a day without working out! It really makes me so so happy during and after a workout to see my progression :)

      Thanks so much for reading!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this great post. I'm a huge fan of walking and varying the pace depending on the day. Stretching is so overlooked too! xxx

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! Walking is really a great way to get in some daily exercise, and varying pace while walking too! Stretching does get overlooked a lot but trust me it's so so worth it to recover smartly!

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  9. Great tips! I definitely need to get back into regular stretching. I like the idea of starting and ending each day with stretches. And those back pain ones are so needed too!

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    1. Thank you!! Starting and ending the day with stretches is so so beneficial, especially if you spend a good portion of the day sitting down, definitely needed to stretch out your back muscles - I use my foam roller for my back and it's life changing!

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  10. Recovery is so important! If you don't have the proper cooldown, it hurts the recovery process. I found this super important when I have the heavier lifting days, that came with soreness days after. Oooh night stretching goes a long way. I love these tips - I tend to have lower back soreness @__@. I am religious with my foam roller and massage/heat wrap! Thanks for sharing all of these tips!! :)

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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    1. Yess! It really is so so important, if we don't properly recover it really means we aren't able to give our 100% in a hard workout the next day. Night time stretching, yes!!! We have so much tension and stretching at night is the absolute key to waking up super refreshed!

      I'm the same with my foam roller! It's really been such a game changer for recovery!

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  11. I'm terrible for not doing my stretches. I'll have to implement some of yours suggestions when I start working out again, especially the ones for my back, as I have constant back problems

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  12. I just discovered your blog and this post seems to be written for me! I haven't been working out for so long so I want to finally get some workout routine again but I always feel so sore after a workout. I'm pretty sure your tips are definitely going to help me with the soreness, first thing I'm doing is stretching!

    xoxo Simone | https://beautymone.com

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  13. These are great tips! I really need to stretch more lol

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  14. It’s really an impressive and creative work. I agree to that shadowing would have been great. It is nice anyway.

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  15. HEY girl, I just wrote a whole comment on this post but idk if it disappeared or I pressed preview instead of publish>? LOL in any case if you didn't get it, the gist was that I adore this post, I'm trying to get back into running but get sore often, so will be stretching and using resistance bands because of this post!! Thanks for inspiring me <3

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