Recovery 101
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Recovery 101

Recovery 101

by Super Dave, Industry Expert

The key to any running program is the ability to recover from one run to the next. For elite runners this means quick recovery because that next run might be later the same day. For fitness runners that means a recovery that gets you ready for your run two days away.

Recovery starts with hydration. As a test, step on the scale before your next run and then step on the scale after your run. Assuming you drank nothing, the pounds you lost during your run consist of water and that's the amount of water you need to replace after your run.

Most runners probably don't drink enough hydrating liquid after they run. One of my favorite things is to watch a runner standing in line at the local coffee shop dripping with sweat. That coffee he's about to order, iced or not, isn't doing much to get fluid back into his system.

Some coaches suggest you drink as much as double the amount of hydrating liquid you lost during your run. Your body continues sweating long after you run which indicates it's still burning energy at a high rate.

Once you've figured the hydration part the next most critical aspect of recovery is fuel. In the first 30 minutes you want to replace the fuel you burned. That means a drink or a bar high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fats. The fuel you burned while running was made mostly of carbohydrates so replacing them first is ideal. I usually drink a replacement drink like PowerBar Recovery and a water bottle filled with a hydrating drink like PowerBar Endurance.

In the three hours after your run you should have a meal that is balanced with carbohydrates, protein and fat. You still need the carbohydrates for the energy storage but you need the protein to help repair those tired muscles.

Long Term
It's well documented that stress causes damaging free radical build up. Free radicals are known to attack immune systems as well as just about every other system in your body. Because running or any healthy fitness building routine is a good stress creator, it's a wise choice to further enhance your recovery by fighting the damage created by free radicals while running. A solid multi-vitamin with antioxidants will help you recover from your running as well as your everyday stress. Our very own Ultra Runner Vitamins are just the combination you need to fight the effects of running and life.

How Much
The amount of recovery needed depends a great deal on your body size and the intensity or duration of your run. The bigger you are and the longer you run the more recovery hydration and fuel you need. The smaller and easier you run the less recovery you need. The best judge of your recovery is your next run. If you feel flat and lethargic, you probably are not fully recovering from your last workout.

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