Running Series - Recovery Tips and Strategies

May 29th, 2024

Running Series - Recovery Tips and Strategies:

It is very important to prioritize rest and recovery after an intensive bout of physical activity. It is essential to allow the body to heal and recover after a hard training effort, a dense training session on the track or in the weightroom, or even after a road race! Rest and recovery can often look very different from one person to another. A deep tissue massage, ice bath, sauna, or even just kicking the legs up and relaxing off the feet are some of the more common go-to recovery strategies for many.

While these options are not bad options, there are a few other options and recommendations to consider when recovering from a hard bout of training or racing. It has been suggested that more of an “active” movement approach (as opposed to other “passive” approaches) to recovery often helps to recover sooner, more effectively, and ultimately more efficiently. Cheung et al found that “exercise is the most effective means of alleviating pain during DOMS”1.

While there is no “gold-standard” method to fully speed up recovery, below are a few recommendations that may assist in the recovery process to help you regain your strength, confidence, and overall ability to overcome the common aches, pains, soreness, and stiffness that is experienced after intensive exercise.

1. Focus on Active Movement – As mentioned above, exercise has been shown to help mitigate muscle pain and soreness after an intensive bout of exercise. This might look different from person to person, but any general movement can help. A few different ideas might include:

· Going for a walk on a local trail or path

· Cycling on a stationary bike at the gym or on your own bike on the road

· Swimming laps in a pool

· Engaging in a sporting activity like tennis, pickleball, soccer, etc

· Mowing the lawn

While it is very important to “listen” to your body during this time, we highly recommend trying to engage in physical activity to help get your body going in the right direction. The focus during this time just after an intensive bout of exercise is to move! Any type of whole-body movement at the right intensity and duration will do.

2. Sleep! - If you have not already been doing so, focus on adequate sleep! Sleep is an essential ingredient to proper rest and recovery throughout the training year. Below are some tips to implement into your current sleep practice:

· Try to darken the room by using light dimming curtains to avoid extra lighting in the bedroom.

· Be sure that the room is set to a cooler and comfortable temperature to promote restful sleep.

· Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, aiming to go to bed and wake up at consistent times throughout the week.

· Minimize pre-sleep blue light exposure just before going to bed. Perhaps reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, or journaling can be a replacement activity during this time.

3. Take in protein – Proper fueling is another key component of any comprehensive training program. Protein is the building block of skeletal muscle and is essential in helping muscle recovery and adaptation after an intensive bout of exercise2. Below are a few tips that shed some light on the important of protein and how to include this in your fueling plan:

· The recommendation is to aim for 0.8g of protein per KG of bodyweight (ex: A 175lb individual should aim for at least 63g of protein per day).

· Runners should aim for at least 1.0-1.6kg of protein per KG of bodyweight per day!3

· Greek yogurt, eggs, whey protein powder, lean meats, tofu, and lentils are some of MANY quick and easy sources of protein to prioritize!

If you or a fellow runner are experiencing pain hindering you from running, we would love to work with you! Our team of clinicians at ProMotion is trained to work with runners of all backgrounds and abilities. We aim to keep you moving and physically active by continuing to engage in the activities that you enjoy doing while addressing your pain or concerns.

Contact us today if you would like to get started on the path to MOVING better, LIVING better, and RUNNING better!


1. Cheung K, Hume PA, Maxwell L. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Sports Medicine. 2012; 33(2):145-164.

2. Carbone JW, Pasiakos SM. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit - Nutrients. 2019; 11(5): 1136. 2019 May 22. Doi:10.3390/nu11051136.