The two key components of post-run routine:
(2) Eat something!
Several years ago, my brother and I both participated in the Cabot Trail Relay Race at the same time. I ran leg 8 (12.3 km) and he ran leg 5 (17.5km). It was a hot, sunny day – so naturally we laughed at him when he demanded all-dressed chips and chocolate milk as he neared the end of his race. But as it turns out, he may have been onto something.
I’ve never been a huge proponent of eating after a run, especially if I’m running in the evening. However, I recently learned that if you do indeed drink some chocolate milk or have a yogurt/banana smoothie soon after a run (say, within 30 minutes), you can reduce muscle soreness & stiffness. (I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve suffered through a Charlie Horse or two and this is by far a better option). You can also carb up with Cliff Bars or other protein bars; Cliff Bars are the best (in my opinion), especially the brownie flavour. And for those of you who are gluten free, try the Luna brand, mint chocolate chip. Also, it’s important to rehydrate after a run so drink plenty of water. Additionally, I’ve been told by a very hardcore gym lady that “Elevate Me” bars are excellent as well. Gluten & wheat free. Just fruit and protein. No added sweeteners, preservatives or flavours. 16 grams of protein. You can buy them at Costco or London Drugs and stores like Planet Organic & Community Natural Foods.
Now, I’d be lying if I said I religiously stretch before and after a run, however, I find now that my knees aren’t as tough as they once were, I’ve made more of an effort to stretch. The best stretches are static. Click here for a PDF of awesome post-run stretches. I also incorporate some yoga poses in there to keep my muscles from becoming too stiff.
Disclaimer: I do not encourage eating all-dressed chips post-run. But you only live once so if you want to eat chips, go for it!