Being sore and miserable is the last thing anybody who’s training consistently wants to experience on a day-to-day basis. While little can be done after a truly hard training session—the body aches because it needs to rebuild the muscles—there are some mitigating tricks that you can implement to feel less sore after those quality workouts.
If it was a really demanding session, I only foam roll some post-workout and put off stretching for later or even the next day (there’s no reason to torment those tired leg muscles). But if you feel like your muscles wouldn’t mind some stretching, I recommend doing the couch stretch, hamstring stretch, glute stretch, and piriformis stretch.
The next thing you need to do after intervals or hills is to ensure you’re fueling properly. Within 30 minutes after you stop exercising, treat yourself to a ripe banana to replenish glycogen and nutrients. Drink lots of water, preferably in the form of an electrolyte drink (I make a diluted version of Power Bar isotonic, to bump up the absorption of water and minerals).
After covering the essentials, you have approximately two hours to eat a proper meal to promote recovery. I prefer complex carbs (e.g., whole-wheat pasta) with a 1/3 ratio of protein. And some greens! Never enough of them on your plate, comrade.
When the food is sloshing nicely inside your belly, the time has come for my supplement stack. Here’s what I swear by:
- Turmeric (in caps, with ginger and black pepper)
- Vitamin E
Optionally, I take vitamin D + K2 and B complex.
NOTE: I take the supplement stack only after hard runs. Since I follow a rather healthy diet, there’s no reason to take supplements every day—the body has enough nutrients from the foods I consume.
Rest. There’s not much to add here. Try not to push it too hard with other activities on days when you do quality sessions. If you do doubles, make sure that the second workout is a recovery-promoting one, i.e., a slow run or an easy swim of 20 to 40 minutes.
Will It Really Help?
When I follow the above guidelines, I do feel better the next day than I would if I didn’t adhere. There’s no one magic ingredient here, though. It’s the result of combined efforts that help with recovery. As you can see, five things come into play here:
- stretching or foam rolling
I highly recommend paying close attention to the Holy Five, especially for those of you who have Hashimoto’s or other conditions that can sometimes make it difficult for the body to regenerate adequately before another training session.